The New York Times ran a story on Christmas Day about the recruiting of Texas high school football star (and soon to be Oklahoma Sooner) Jamarkus McFarland.
I know I have said this before, but this story illustrates why I can't stomach paying close attention to college football recruiting. It perfectly encapulates the circus atmosphere that the recruiting process has become.
Here is the basic story: Jamarkus is a gifted football player, excellent student, and a pretty good kid. He has a very strong bond with his mother and grandmother. He is faced a choice between Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, and USC. He visits all four schools, some of them more than once. Has numerous face to face, phone, and email contact with coaches. It is a tough choice. He selects Oklahoma.
It is the details that make me want to puke:
Mom on the long term process: “Texas went to sleep in the summertime in recruiting J-Mac, When they went to sleep, Oklahoma woke up.”
Jamarkus wrote an English paper on a party he attended at the Texas/OU game in Dallas: “I will never forget the excitement amongst all participants... Alcohol was all you can drink, money was not an option. Girls were acting wild by taking off their tops, and pulling down their pants. Girls were also romancing each other. Some guys loved every minute of the freakiness some girls demonstrated. I have never attended a party of this magnitude....The attitude of the people at the party was that everyone should drink or not come to the party. Drugs were prevalent with no price attached.”
Jamarkus on an OU party: “Drinks were plentiful, but not to the extent they were (at the Dallas party)... Some people were tipsy, but in control of themselves....Some people who attend the University of Oklahoma seem to represent different values than some people who attend the University of Texas.”
Mom on Les Miles: “He was very dry” She was further turned off by L.S.U. when she saw hostesses sitting on the laps of recruits. Ohhh MY.
Texas Coach Mack Brown: “Whose house do you like better, Bob Stoops’s, Les Miles’s or mine?”. Mack Brown's house has flatscreen TVs in every room, including the bathrooms.
Jamarkus on Oklahoma when he was ready to choose Texas: “There ain’t nothing to do at Oklahoma except football” His Mom stopped him from announcing.
Mack Brown email to Mom: “It is obvious that the recruiting has put a strain on your relationship, JaMac wants Texas, and Mom wants OU. We want you to still come to Texas, but we are going to slow our process down because you two need some time to get on the same page. We do not want players at Texas if everyone isn’t on the same page.”
Mom: “This isn’t about J-Mac anymore, It’s about O.U. versus Texas. It shouldn’t be that way.”
Mom about Texas rumors of gifts: “It’s been made known that enough income would flow through where I would be good for a while”
Jamarkus to his Mom: “I hate this now, I really do, simply because of the pressure.”
Jamarkus to OU defensive line coach, Jackie Shipp: “I want you to coach me for the next four years... Isn’t that what you wanted for Christmas?"
The Texas spin control and media fallout of this story is just beginning.