SEC commissioner Greg Sankey isn’t the only high-level executive in football unhappy with IMG Academy’s presence. Brenham (Texas) head coach Glen West, who serves as president of the Texas High School Coaches Association, wrote a letter to his peers in Texas Coach magazine railing against the academy, saying it could “destroy our profession.”
“As president of THSCA, I would like to make you aware of a growing movement that I feel can destroy our profession as we know it,” West writes. “At the current moment, IMG Academy has actively recruited three of our top Texas high school football players to play their senior season for their traveling football team. The reason given for these young athletes to attend this academy is to better prepare for the next level of competition. I adamantly disagree with that reasoning. With every fiber of my body, I feel that the best people to prepare them for the next level are YOU, the COACHES IN THIS STATE. It is my opinion these athletes were cherry picked to attend these academies to build their resumes. The intent is for other athletes with big dreams to also attend these academies for a large price. The paying athletes would attend hoping for the same opportunities as those that were recruited. You, as the coaches, can stand proud knowing that WE are in this business not to profit off of our athletes.”
Read the full letter here.
Here's West's full letter in this edition of the THSCA magazine: pic.twitter.com/PP4bWLZVjw
— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) February 23, 2016
“It’s not necessarily against IMG, it’s just for years in the state of Texas we have been the advocate for our kids, where the college coaches come through and it’s been a really good situation for hundreds of years,” West told the Dallas Morning News, though IMG was the only prep school mentioned in the letter. “The idea of athletes being raised through your program in your community, being part of your community, until later in their career (they) think they need to go to a specialist, we don’t agree with that.
“We’ve sent a lot of people on to college and the NFL. We think we do a good job of sending them there. We’re with them from day to dark. I will stand strong on that I think our coaches do a great job.”
West doesn’t seem off in his assertion that IMG offers scholarships to a chosen few in order to make the team more attractive to the paying customers. It’s the same principle, roughly, that college football operates on. Boarding school rates to join IMG’s football team for the 2016-17 academic year run $72,900.
And, yes, it’s easy to see where a coach that has plugged thousands of hours of coaching and development into a player only to watch him pack his bags and leave before his senior year would be peeved, to say the least. But, still, IMG has taken three players out of the tens of thousands on Texas high school rosters. The idea that IMG and those like it would “destroy” Texas high school football reads like a scare tactic to draw attention to West’s stance.
Which, by the way, worked like a charm.