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For The Love Of The Game Or Just The Scholarship?

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 04:  Ray Ray Armstrong #9 fo the black team runs onto the field before the All America Under Armour Football Game at Florida Citrus Bowl on January 4, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Sean AhernCorrespondent IMay 27, 2009

Recruitment information of high school football players being sold for $10 a month sounds less like promotion, but prostitution of players for college careers as they begin to look past their public school careers towards college and even pro-football aspirations.

The work of Brian Butler, a recruiting advisor for high school football players, uses his services to get players that would otherwise be unknown to Division I coaches known and on the team as they enter their first year of college.

As he does this, he not only brings hope to high school athletes yearning for a Division I stardom, but also a circle of controversy as players begin to listen to his advising more often than their own coaches.

As stated in Pete Thamel’s Feb. 3 article in the New York Times, coach Brian Byers of Wichita East High School states that Butler’s philosophy circles around the idea that, “It’s all about me, me, me [the player]. That’s not what football is about. We’re a proven fact. We had supposedly the best football player in the country in high school, and we went 6-3. We didn’t have a team because of that.”

Butler’s protégées pay, “$70 to $200 a month for training sessions and $450 a player for recruiting consulting services. Butler said he has made less than $200 selling the on-line recruiting subscriptions,” according to the article. High school coaches in Kansas say that their players who are under advisement from Butler are “persuaded” to skip summer workouts organized by the football programs to workout with Butler.

Persuasion to miss summer workouts with friends and players that have lower aspirations than to play college football. While those who are fawned over by Butler gain insider knowledge on how to score big with a Division I scholarship, their friends on the local team looking to win states are without their star wide receiver, linebacker or quarterback.

It's like the commercial says, "All of us are student-athletes, but some of us are going into fields other than professional sports"

While he maintains that he is doing a good job and that he is the most connected guy in the country when it comes to high school recruitment, he still damages teams where the majority of the players will not be able to ever get to the big leagues.

Such allegations by the coach of Wichita East are understandable.

With a key member of the team being fawned over by recruiters and doing alternative workouts to make him more favorable to college coaches, the rest of the team suffers.

Teams who rely on the power of players such as the Brown brothers are at a disadvantage when the work of Butler is added to the equation.

Yes, those few are going to be able to gain a college education on a sports scholarship, but the chance for “high school football greatness” for the rest of the team could be shattered in an instant.

While Butler is making a quick buck on the hopes and dreams of star athletes looking forward to their future in College and maybe even Pro Football, he undermines what it means to be a high school athlete and the most important part of playing football—for the love of the game.

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