If the arctic air that has enveloped us the past few weeks is a sign of the apocalypse, I have the clincher that proves the end is near.
Rivals.com, which was bought by Yahoo! a few years ago and found a way to turn the evaluation of high school athletes into a multimillion-dollar business, has reached an all-time low.
Last week, Rivals added two children to its data base: Daron Bryden of Enfield, Conn., and Tyson Thornton of Springfield, Mass.
They are in the sixth grade. These children won’t graduate from high school until 2021!
When did this turn into a limbo contest to see how low we can go?
Apparently, Rivals is serious about the sixth-graders, who have their own profile pages. Just think how many more people will subscribe to Rivals if they can find profiles of their junior-high kids there.
How did Rivals find out about these sixth-graders?
From a combine, of course.
Let me introduce you to NextGen Camps, which caters to kids in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
NextGen stages combines for middle-school kids, who are tested in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard dash, pro shuttle, three-cone shuttle, broad jump and push ups.
All they have to do is get their parents to shell out $99 to be tested in things that have absolutely no significance when they are that young. The results are posted on the website, and the kids who participate range from 4-feet-11 to 6-2 and from 82 to 280 pounds.
Part of the allure to the combine was the assurance that the top performers would have profile pages on Rivals.
These people clearly are pandering to delusional parents who believe handing out money to anyone who says he can give their kid an edge in gaining a college scholarship is the way to go.
Rivals has parents brainwashed that their recruiting service is monitored by college coaches, which isn’t exactly the case.
Parents would be better off taking their kids to the local library and telling them to hang out there for a few hours. That likely would help them get money for college more than through combines for middle-school kids.
News of Rivals’ inclusion of sixth-graders to its database spread quickly.
The next day, I received an e-mail claiming that Youth1 Media is: “the leader for written and video content on the nation’s most elite athletes in the 8th grade and younger.” The site announces where some of these eighth-graders will attend high school and compares eighth-graders to college athletes.
It seems unconscionable to me that adults would stoop this low to hold combines for children in middle school, but money talks.
And I can understand Rivals’ thinking. It already is exploiting high-school kids, why not middle-school kids? It’s clear they don’t care what effect this could have on children down the road.
Out of curiosity, I looked at Bryden’s profile page. He is 5-2 and 105 pounds.
Rivals lists him as a pro-style quarterback.
Have they no shame?
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Harper Woods Chandler Park 68, Dearborn Henry Ford Academy 35: Jalen Martin led Chandler Park (12-6) with 21 points and 16 rebounds, and was also named the Charter School Player of the Year. Avery Gray added 13 points and Norris Moore had 12. Kyle Harper scored 12 for Henry Ford Academy.
West Bloomfield 8, Ann Arbor Skyline 1: Josh Ramsey, Michael Kolodin, Andre Kilpela, Daniel Kassab, David Weaver (two goals), and Andrew McDonald (two goals) all scored for West Bloomfield (14-7-2), and Anthony Crews made 23 saves.