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Real Recruiting Talk: CFB is as Dirty as Ever

College Football’s rampant cheating continues regardless of what college coaches like to deny.

There are numerous articles and comments from any one of the three coaches that people can find. It’s all but endless in the world of social media.

Others may discuss that topic at their leisure. For that matter, the three famous coaches can have at it on Twitter, Instagram or a boxing ring. Does not matter. Here’s the bottom line about college recruiting, no matter how the online battle shakes out, as college football is just as dirty as ever. For the specific scouts that travel around to high school spring practices, combines, seven-on-seven events and the like, there are numerous situations where the truth is discussed behind closed doors. That’s what this article is about.

Just in traveling around to high school football spring practices in Florida, Alabama and Georgia the past few weeks, the common discussion about illegal recruiting tactics has come up multiple times with coaches and recruits. With that, here’s a breakdown of the two primary types of cheating that happens in today’s college football world.

Buying a Recruit to Sign a Letter of Intent

This is the old school backdoor deal. “X” amount of money and the recruit in question signs with a school. People have written books and articles about this stuff for decades, and it’s not going away. Bottom line, whether it’s a booster ponying up the cash or the money is delivered via a job or a house, perhaps both, each recruitment is different. It’s still very common for prospects to be bought and paid for like a meal at a chain restaurant.

From direct commentary during recruiting conversation, over $200,000 for a single recruit is the highest single number that has been identified in the last couple of years. Yes, one recruit. While that being a really high total, the number of recruits that are paid something (10K, etc.) is very common. Scouts hear it all the time from high school coaches, and quite frankly from some of the recruits as well. It’s just a different deal when the recorder is not rolling.

Any high school football scout would like a nickel for everytime a high school coach has something to the effect of, “Now, this is off the record, right?” All of us high school football scouts would be rich.

NIL Inducements and the Transfer Portal

To start, NIL money can be used to get a high school recruit to sign with a school, i.e. an inducement much like the one in the category above. Then there's the use of NIL with the Transfer Portal as well.

This is the big one that’s been going around the college football world. By now, just about everyone has heard about Southern California Head Coach Lincoln Riley being called out by Pittsburgh Head Coach Pat Narduzzi over attempting to literally steal his star wide receiver Jordan Addison off Pittsburgh’s roster.

With USC’s booster-involved NIL money to help make that worth Addison’s time, it’s probably an enticing opportunity. It’s not yet known what’s going to happen with Addison and his transfer, but he’s just one of many examples of players that were not even in the Transfer Portal that schools have contacted to try and get them to leave their original school and come to another. NIL is the backdrop as to why any player would do so.

Imagine being at the age of 19, maybe 20, and someone offers you $100,000 to transfer. That would be hard to pass up. Here are a few of the other situations that have been discussed openly.

Alabama (ironic considering what Nick Saban is saying about Jimbo Fisher and Deion Sanders) has tried to lure multiple players off other rosters, including Notre Dame’s star tight end Michael Mayer. $1M dollars is a lot to turn down, but that's the number that's been rumored and verified by multiple people. He’s staying in South Bend, despite the generous offer. There are plenty of other schools doing the same thing via NIL cash, but Alabama is a known commodity so more people discuss it. Regardless of the school, one thing continues to also be the same.

“We Don’t Cheat”

Whether it’s Jimbo Fisher making this claim to ESPN, "You can't call me a cheat. I don't cheat and I don't lie." Okay Coach Fisher. Sure buddy. Whatever you say. Regardless if it's Fisher or someone else, it’s still the same end result far more often than not: it’s a boldfaced lie when coaches say they do not cheat in recruiting.

There are honestly very few schools that do not openly cheat in recruiting, sadly. The level of cheating is the bigger question, but that’s a topic for a different day.

For college football fans, the key here is to know that college football is as dirty as it ever was, and that includes the days of the old Southwest Conference with Texas, SMU, Houston, and all the other schools in that league cheating like crazy and eventually going on probation. New era of college football with some new tactics, but many of the same schools across the sport are cheating, and denying they cheat, all the same.

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