It used to be that only a handful of college football programs played on television – and even fewer played on national television.
That, of course, is no longer the case.
And it’s arguably the No. 1 reason why there’s so much parity in college football these days.
“Without a doubt,” CBS recruiting insider Tom Lemming said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “For people who can remember back in the late-70s, it was always Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan – and everyone else was way down below because they were rarely on TV.
“Then Notre Dame got their national (deal) in the early-90s with NBC. That really helped them out. Now you’ve got the Texas Longhorn Network, and everyone else is on national TV. At least the top 30, 40 schools are on national TV all the time, and the rest of them still get their shot locally being on TV. So it has added some parity to it.”
So, too, has social media.
“Coaches are using Facebook and Twitter and really hitting everything that way,” Lemming said. “And a lot of times it’s not really the coaches doing it. They’ve got (graduate assistants) and other people who make it look like the coaches are doing it. But just staying in touch and following each kid’s Facebook and Twitter account (is really important these days).
Just how important? Lemming said that official campus visits have become anti-climactic, and that it isn’t uncommon for a recruit to commit to a school without ever having seen the campus.
Some things, however, haven’t changed.
“I’ve been doing this 36 years,” Lemming said. “Things haven’t really changed that much. Great players (are still) getting a ton of attention and being overwhelmed, and other (players are) just trying to get that one offer.”
Asked whether kids today are different or if it’s just the technology that makes it seem that way, Lemming didn’t hesitate: It’s the technology. Certain players have always been spoiled and treated god-like; it’s just that now they have more ways to get their name out there, and it’s easier for that spoiled-ness to come to light.
In fact, Lemming said that a lot of the players who commit and de-commit three or four times often do so because they crave – and miss – the attention. If a kid commits to a school, the press and cameras go to the next recruit. But if a kid re-opens his recruiting, he’s back on the front page.
The recruiters themselves just take it in stride.
They have to.
“What hasn’t changed is the work ethic, the aggressiveness and the personality of the best recruiters – and (there are) none better than Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or Al Golden or James Franklin,” Lemming said. “That’s the reason why they’ll consistently have good recruiting. The great players usually go to the schools that work the hardest.”