City Sports Report

Rivals Has Sunk To A New Low

Kids huddling up before a game (photo courtesy of www.imgick.masslive.com)

Growing up, many kids love to play sports. It gets them active, gets them out of the house and allows them to be able to make friends while in competition. At a young age, it’s fun to play. But as you get older, the innocence of the game gets less and less as the rankings and competition ratchet up. It seems like it may be a rough thing for kids, but they get used to seeing where they stand with the competition as they get older and older. But what happens when rankings get done at a younger age. Rivals.com, a recruiting website that ranks and examines kids in sports, has decided to take ranking players to a whole lower level. Rivals will now be ranking kids starting in sixth grade. Yes, as unbelievable as it sounds, Rivals will be spending money ranking kids in football that are as young as sixth grade, which would be anywhere from 11-13 years old. To some this may be acceptable, but ultimately, this is an idea that never needed to be developed.

In football at the younger stages, there are always the players that stand out only because they hit puberty quicker than most. But ultimately the other kids catch up to those kids as puberty kicks in. So, imagine the rankings and what they will mean when it comes to players being ranked in football around sixth grade. There may be a kid that is 5’11” at quarterback that can throw the ball a country mile. With that size and arm in sixth grade, many will be looking at this kid thinking he is the next great quarterback based on the hype that is created through the rankings. But ultimately, the media and the rankings may have gotten to him too soon because he may not grow another inch. And with that, he may slide from being the best quarterback in the rankings to a quarterback no one even talks about. That can more than likely happen not only in this kid’s instance but in many others due to kids that have not even hit puberty. The change of boys to men is something that can have kids grow and fill into their bodies even more than they would be at the age of 12. So if anyone is looking at these kids at that young an age, they are sadly leading themselves on a road that will lead nowhere. Kids should not even really be looked at until they get into high school because at that point, puberty will have started to have its effect on them. But in sixth grade, there is the big risk that the shine and attention that kid gets at sixth grade could fade when he gets to the tenth grade. All because the process to rank and dissect that kid started way too soon.

Another issue that comes with ranking kids that early in the process of them playing is the end of their innocence. Just a few decades ago, kids were allowed to be kids without worrying about the pressure of worrying about how they play or what scouts are watching them, waiting to rank them in their system. As kids get into the high school ranks, they are probably more prepared for that attention at that age. But at 11-13 years old, a kid is still trying to figure himself out let alone trying to figure out what scouts are looking for from them. Hence the innocence of the kid is now lost due to the business that becomes sports. At that age group, kids are still deciding what they want to be, so adding this additional stress to them at an age where they are not equipped to handle it is just in poor taste. Plus how would you rank these kids anyway is a big question to me as well. Would you go to junior pro games and sixth grade football games to scout talent? That sounds like one of the biggest wastes of time to do. No disrespect to the kids that they may be looking at, but this does anyone on the recruiting trail any good at the Division 1 level. And if it did do any recruiters any good, then we need to seriously question these people and what they are doing even being recruiters in the first place.

Rivals may have thought they were doing something that was proactive and getting the edge on top talents across the state. But they come across as ambulance chasers here in this scenario. No one in their right mind would even dare to spend time breaking down film and things of a sixth grader knowing puberty and other things can effect that child’s life soon. And if a parent, likes this type of thing, then you seriously have to question what they are doing with their motive is in regards to their kids. The rankings of these kids needs to be stopped immediately. At 11-13 years old, let them be a kid or else you are talking their innocence away and putting up a bad product for recruiters and fans of the recruiting process.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

2 Comments

  1. Michael Campanella

    February 25, 2015 at 12:55 am

    THIS IS NUTZZ!!! but honestly would they do it if there wasnt a need? i know kids are looked at that young in hoops, but football is a JOKE!!

    great read and opinions, hit em hard bro

  2. Dori Longino

    February 25, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Great article! I’m passionate about kids sports and you touched on my greatest pet peeves! Youth sports should be about teaching good sportsmanship, teamwork, and doing your best win or lose! Just have fun!

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