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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Grip on Sports: When it comes to college football recruiting, there are no saints

Washington  head coach Chris Petersen hoists the Apple Cup after his team defeated Washington State  on Nov. 23 at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • If there is one personality trait that angers us, it’s hypocrisy. Doing one thing. Saying the opposite. Covering oneself in a cloak of righteousness while being underhanded. Of course, it is college football recruiting that has riled us up this morning. Read on.


• The sport’s never-ending story has to do with recruiting, right? It is the lifeblood of college athletics, the wellspring from which all success flows. And, no matter the sport, it’s a dirty business. When success depends on something in our society, it is going to be corrupted.

If your eyes were shut to this in the past, the recent going-ons in college basketball must have opened them. Arrests, indictments, convictions. All related to recruiting high school seniors.

Football recruiting may not have hit that level just yet (though we might be naïve here), but it’s a dog-eat-cat world, isn’t it? If the big dog down the street sees someone it wants, it will go after him. No matter what.

Everyone does it. And by everyone, we mean just that. Everyone.

The starting quarterback at Notre Dame this season? Ian Book. He committed to another school at first. Washington State. But the Irish swooped in late, offered a scholarship and he was off to South Bend. No matter. It’s the way of the world. There are examples of kids committed to other schools before Washington State enticed them to switch allegiances at the last minute.

It’s just the way it is.

Everyone does it. And by everyone, we mean just that. Everyone.

Which is why Chris Petersen’s comments yesterday about “vultures” bothered me. Big time. What was it Jesus said about a first stone? That it would break a glass house or something?

Petersen is a good man. As football coaches go, he seems about as normal as any. He’s honest, straightforward and open. But hypocrisy is unbecoming on anyone. Even him.

You may lose a highly sought-after recruit at the last minute. A young man who has been committed forever. It’s not good for your class. It may not be right. But unless you have never turned a player from another school to yours after they were committed, you can’t complain about it.

And Petersen’s Huskies have done that. More than once. In this case, they don’t “just operate in a different way.”

We can think of a couple of players off the top of our head, a defensive end and a kicker, that were publicly committed to WSU and ended up in Montlake. And that’s just between those schools. There have been more.

It happens. Everyone does it. And by everyone, we mean just that. Everyone. Does it make it right? Nope. But don’t complain about it unless you are willing to not do it yourself.

Just bite down hard on a piece of wood or something, deal with the pain of missing out on a key piece of your class and move on.

Everyone does it. And by everyone, we mean just that. Everyone.


Gonzaga: With the students gone, the Zags have to supply their own energy over the next few home games. That’s part of Jim Meehan’s look back at the win over Texas-Arlington. … Jim joined Larry Weir yesterday for the Press Box pod. … The women will host Idaho tonight. Jim Allen has a preview. … Jim also has a feature on the Wirth twins, LeeAnne and Jenn, who have powered GU’s inside game lately. … Around the WCC, USF picked up another win while Saint Mary’s Randy Bennett hit a milestone. … Loyola-Marymount edged Boise State.

WSU: The Cougars lost a committed player or two before signings started but still received letters of intent from 19 players. Theo Lawson has all the particulars in this story. … The men’s basketball team improved its Beasley record to 7-0 with an easy 89-73 win over Southern Illinois Edwardsville. … The women fell to Kansas in a Las Vegas game. … The Times has a story on the Cougars’ football recruiting class. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, we have a story on each school’s recruiting (except Stanford), including another on Washington. … Yes, Oregon’s class was considered one of the best in the nation. … Oregon State had a small group sign yesterday. … We can pass along stories from Colorado, Utah, which focused on linemen, California, which also lost a quarterback, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, which is still searching for the perfect recruit, and Arizona. … It wasn’t a good night, again, for Pac-12 basketball, with UCLA run out of the gym in Cincinnati. … Arizona had no trouble with Montana.

EWU: Eastern heads to the FCS championship game with a small but solid recruiting class according to Ryan Collinwood’s story. … Around the Big Sky, Idaho State lost to Utah Valley.

Idaho: The Vandals announced 13 players who signed letters of intent yesterday. Peter Harriman has this story on Idaho’s incoming class.

Whitworth: The Pirates are on a roll offensively, having scored 100 or more in each of the last four games. Dan Thompson has coverage of the latest win, this one 143-95 over Concordia Chicago.

Preps: With yesterday being the first day of the early football signing period, Dave Nichols has a nice story on Lewis and Clark’s Xavier Guillory, who will continue his education at the Air Force Academy. … So what’s going on in the prep basketball ranks? Dave has a quick synopsis today. … We also can pass along a feature on the North Central girls from Steve Christilaw as well as a roundup of last night’s action. … There were wrestling matches last night.

Seahawks: Did you get up this morning hoping to read a story about belly rubs? Is so, you are in luck. … Chris Carson’s run was special. … The Hawks have a new power back. … Michael Dickson is quiet about his craft. … K.J. Wright should be back Sunday. But other starters are still out.

Mariners: Goodbye Safeco. Hello, T-Mobile Park. The cellular provider signed a 25-year agreement. But will the company last 25 years? … Jerry Dipoto is doing better.


• Can it be the Christmas season without someone in the house dealing with an illness? Nope, just doesn’t happen. And our Internet access seems to have caught something as well. The doctors from Comcast were in the neighborhood yesterday and they seemed to have caused more problems than they fixed. Until later …