I was catching up on the day's events on Rivals just now, and this recent story highlighting Duke's plans to host a wrestling camp, right here in our own backyard in Highland Park is more than a little disquieting. I mean, Duke's coach is none-too-subtle about his intentions with the camp:
"New Jersey is one of the best states for wrestling," Anderson said, "so it's obviously a strategic athletic and academic target for recruiting. New Jersey is just a great state because they often have very smart kids that can get into Duke University and are great wrestlers, so we wanted to bring Duke up to the Northeast to get exposure."
Coach Schiano and staff did the exact same thing in Florida for years, before the likes of Vince Dooley agitated for and enacted a Schiano rule, barring a useful tool for unearthing under the radar sleepers, with the added bonus of cementing ties with key local high school football programs in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Whether or not it was good for the campers was irrelevant (because it certainly was, only a fraction of them ever making the trek north). What's in their best interest clearly played second fiddle to protecting local monopolies. Mid-tier ACC and SEC coaches didn't want any Yankees moving in on their territory, or to have to work even harder at what increasingly has become a year-long pursuit.
Well, two can play at this game. I don't know where this issue is on Tim Pernetti and Coach Goodale's list of priorities, but they have every right to file a protest with the NCAA. If only to highlight the naked double standard used to justify enacting the Schiano rule in the first place.
I'm not necessarily upset with Highland Park here, although I strongly believe that every GMC school (if not every New Jersey school) needs to have a strong relationship with Rutgers, and vice versa.
Asked how he thought Rutgers University and coach Scott Goodale, who has done an outstanding job recruiting the Garden State over the past two years, might feel about the Blue Devils holding a clinic less than five minutes from the state university's campus, Anderson said:
"I personally don't know how they would react. Wrestling has some pretty tough characters. They love to compete. I don't think they are offended by us going up there and running a clinic. (Goodale's) obviously done a great job and when you have a great program, you don't worry too much about what other programs do."
Odds are, with only limited scholarships to play with, these kids wouldn't have ended up at Rutgers anyway. But the likes of Eric Foster had little opportunity of staying home and playing for Florida's Big Three football programs. They won't give anyone without perfect measurables the time of day. What Florida is to football, New Jersey is to high school wrestling; the 800-lb gorilla that every out of state program wants to mine. Two can play the rent seeking game.