Notre Dame Recruiting, Eddie Vanderdoes, And The Internet Age

And there it is… Eddie Vanderdoes is cleared to play at UCLA this year after his final appeal was heard on Monday to the NCAA.

This news is sure to start some pissing matches between the media (holy crusaders of justice) and Irish fans (mindless & selfish trolls). Yes, the previous parenthetical statements can be swapped depending upon your opinion. 

Opinions. You know the old saying well enough, and since I can include myself in the human race, I have one too.

As far as this whole Eddie Vanderdoes saga is concerned, I lost interest a while ago. It's not that I don't understand the importance of the events that have took place between Vanderdoes and Notre Dame, nor is it because I place a low value on the recruiting aspect of a football program.

Far from it. 

You see, Eddie Vanderdoes's commitment to Notre Dame on National Signing Day seemed like something that was too good to be true at the time, and generally, those types of things actually aren't true. And now, we have an NCAA stamp that basically says just that; Eddie Vanderdoes was never committed to Notre Dame and instead they rescind a legal contract.

All of this is too wackadoo for my brain to function properly. It also attempts to take away from what was a GREAT recruiting class that Brian Kelly and his staff put together- even without EV. I can not allow this for myself. 

What it has done for me is change the way I look at recruiting utterly. I am not hypocritical enough to state that I don't care about recruiting and won't follow it or report about it anymore. No, that would be silly and naive. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a football program, and its failures and successes can, in fact, make or break a program like Notre Dame. 

Long ago, I used to be thrilled when a recruit verbally committed to Notre Dame. Then, as we can all agree upon, we started seeing a trend of more and more of these "verbal commits' change their mind all together and pledge somewhere else, and sign somewhere else (maybe two or three more times). 

So, naturally, I started to put more and more faith and hope in the first Wednesday in February, also known as National Signing Day (which is only the FIRST day a player can sign his legal contract to attend the school of their choosing). After all, Notre Dame is not Alabama. There is no real threat of a player that Notre Dame recruited and offered a scholarship to not being able to qualify for the school once it was time to report in June, right? (Well… does Tee Shepard really count?)

But now this Vanderdoes defection and with the NCAA giving him their blessing, the recruiting cycle for a class is now most certainly over in June. (Transfers don't count, but maybe they should). So please forgive me if I don't go streaking to the quad over a verbal commitment for the incoming class of 2015. I have neither the time or the energy to fully commit myself to the promise of a 16, 17, or 18 year old kid with hundreds of people in his ear and all with their own motives.

Welcome to the Internet Recruiting Age. It's been around for over a decade now. Since 2002, websites like have changed the way we follow college football recruiting and college football itself. Sure, there were people like Tom Lemming that were in the recruiting business long before that, but all of that seemed more like some weird cult or secret society. 

Now, every bit of knowledge that we could possibly want about high school children and their personal lives is available at the click of a mouse, or with the tap of our finger against the screens of our smartphones. Recruiting websites, blogs, message boards, mainstream media outlets and social media offer it all. Quickly, rather than slowly, all of this is becoming more and more commonplace and as a part of the fabric of college football itself. 

Now that all of this knowledge is out in public, it puts these kids and their families inside a pressure cooker. They start to make decisions in the "now" rather than for the "future." And the 'now" can change suddenly and quite often when everyone is trying to get a recruit to divulge clues about a favorite school or when they hammer on a recruit about a timeline for a commitment, and so on and so on. 

This has got to be one of the most daunting tasks for these kids and their families, and did I forget to mention that college coaches all over the country are pulling out every trick imaginable to sway that decision? Yeah… thanks Internet. It's no wonder that recruiting is what it is today, and that's one giant mess for all involved (and as you can tell… that's pretty much everybody). 

Therefore, my interest is declining. It's too much. Really, it is. As I said before, I will continue to follow and (god help me) report on recruiting, but my confidence in the system that was 'shaky" at best, is very much depleted. That isn't a shot at Eddie Vanderdoes and his family, because they are only doing what they think is best for themselves, and this isn't necessarily a shot at the NCAA. No, it's a shot at all of us for buying into this system and this process for so long.

We are addicted and we are sick because of it. Any hope we may have had of kicking the habit has disappeared like a fart in the wind because the coverage is everywhere. There is enough blame to go around for this sickness, and anyone who follows college football that claims otherwise is either a god damn liar or a better person than me. 

So good luck to Eddie Vanderdoes, and I part with this thought:

The Subway Domer

About The Subway Domer

Warlord and Emperor of the Subway Alumni... also, I do this "dad" thing pretty damn well.