It was no shock that five-star recruit Romeo Langford, previously considered a likely Louisville recruit, backed away from considering the Cardinals Thursday, a day after Rick Pitino was effectively fired as the school’s head coach. No elite recruit is going to seriously consider attending an institution mired in an epic scandal, and Langford is no exception, even with his Indiana roots making Louisville a geographically attractive option.
Still, the New Albany (Ind.) star’s moves are eye-opening because of the potential insight they provide about the potential involvement in scandal of individual schools sponsored by adidas, the brand which thus far has been at the crux of the scandal.
On Tuesday evening, Langford announced he would take an official visit to Kansas in late October. The Jayhawks are one of adidas’ most prominent collegiate brands, right alongside UCLA in terms of national awareness and media exposure (Louisville may have been a close third, but doesn’t have the depth of tradition featured at Kansas’ Phogg Allen Fieldhouse or UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion). If Langford is taking an official visit to Kansas it stands to reason he’s confident they won’t become embroiled in the ongoing scandal.
Then there is the broader implication: If Langford and his family are confident he’s not going to become ensnared in any scandal, it’s likely Kansas officials are convincing them of that, and have provided enough authoritative proof that the Jayhawks are in the clear for the Langford family to feel comfortable. That’s obviously a stark contrast to Louisville, where Langford removed himself from any consideration hours later.
Telling? Perhaps, though it’s worth noting that Langford’s top schools include an even mix of Nike and adidas institutions. He’s already visited Nike-sponsored Vanderbilt and has scheduled an official visit at North Carolina (Nike) in mid-October and with the in-state Hoosiers (adidas) a week later. Add in Kentucky (Nike) and UCLA (adidas) and you’ve got a full deck.
What any of this tells us about the ongoing recruiting scandals and their evolution and expansion has everything to do with whether Langford’s actions can be a predictor of further action or investigation in the case. Regardless, for the time being a cancelled official visit to school may actually mean something more than a sudden change of heart by a teenager for a change.