No breaks for college recruiters
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
There is at least one segment of the Hawai'i travel trade that has been unchanged by the fallout from the Sept. 11 tragedy football recruiters.
Despite cutbacks in flights, concern about safety and tightening budgets, there will apparently be no lessening in the heavy inbound traffic of coaches for the recruiting season.
"It is always gonna be worth your while to go over there," said a recruiter from a Pac-10 school. "And this year is no exception."
"If I had to cut out a place to recruit in December or January, it wouldn't be Hawai'i," said an assistant at a Midwest school. "Minnesota, maybe. But not Hawai'i."
Not when there is another promising crop of linemen especially on defense to be harvested. Not when, coaches say, you can usually count on 12-15 Division I-A prospects in even an average year and their performance at Hawai'i and a half-dozen other schools continues to advertise their attractiveness.
"I always feel like it is a good year for players here," said UH coach June Jones, who will again be attempting to land them by the bulk rate.
That's why, though the football season is two-thirds played out for the Warriors, the "other" campaign, the recruiting season, is just warming up.
The competition to win the hearts, minds and, come Feb. 6 national letter of intent day, the signatures, of this year's top high school prospects is scheduled to soon shift into living rooms across the state.
Under NCAA rules, Division I-A schools have six "evaluation" days between September and Nov. 24 in which to visit high schools and watch games. They can begin going into homes Nov. 25.
The NCAA is reportedly considering an extension because of the games that have been rescheduled due to the Sept. 11 events. While that move would help UH, which has traditionally played in the last game of the regular season and done most of its face-to-face recruiting in late December and January, it could also aid some of its competitors.
Brigham Young, which had its game with UH rescheduled to Dec. 8, will be here for the annual high school all-star game on Dec. 7. And new BYU coach Gary Crowton has made it a priority to re-establish once strong recruiting ties.
Add the other perennials Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, Washington and Washington State, etc. plus some recent arrivals such as Wisconsin, Nevada and the return of BYU and Southern Cal, and there will be no shortage of suitors for the state's top prospects.
Nor, unfortunately, any drop off in competition for the Warriors.