Clemson Football: One Quick Thing – Respect My Decision

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney during practice in Clemson in Clemson, S.C. March 29, 2023.Clemson Football Spring Practice March 29 2023
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney during practice in Clemson in Clemson, S.C. March 29, 2023.Clemson Football Spring Practice March 29 2023 /

Clemson Football doesn’t recruit the way a lot of schools recruit. They keep their scholarship numbers low. They don’t offer players until they get to know them a bit, even if they miss the boat on some good prospects.

This drives some Tiger fans nuts. It has frustrated me at times as well. Other times, I’m glad Clemson handles its business the way they do. I think it saves them and the fans a ton of drama.

I’ve never been a fan of the ‘verbal commitment’ and signing day rules. Since players can’t sign on the dotted line, it has led to a common practice of players ‘reserving’ their spot in a class.

To be fair, sometimes it’s the school that is putting a hard sell on the player. Either way, it leads to a situation where a commitment has been made that isn’t really a commitment.

The player continues to take more visits after being committed. The school continues to host more visitors at the player’s position, even though they are full.

The possible outcome is either the player finds a better opportunity with a higher-prestige program or the school finds a better prospect and tells the player they aren’t a take after all.

The schools can’t comment publicly about recruitments until the letter of intent is signed, but if they could they would likely express the same sentiment as the players who take the better opportunity: “Respect my decision.”

This always struck me as odd. What exactly do they expect?

Per Merriam-Webster, there are two meanings of respect as a verb. One of them is “to refrain from interfering with”. As in, respect my privacy. If that is what is mean, then of course, every prospect and their family should be due that kind of respect.

The other option is “to consider worthy of high regard”, as in to hold their decision in esteem. This strikes me more along the lines of what most prospects mean when they recommit or flip, or what players mean when they decide to transfer.

When a prospect/player writes “Respect my decision”, what I infer is they are saying “Don’t be critical of my choice”.

I think every player is due common courtesy, but that doesn’t mean they should be held free from criticism.

Clemson Football fans don’t encounter ‘Respect my decision’ very often

I acknowledge every player’s right and program’s right to handle their recruiting however they choose within the framework of the rules, but just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s ethical.

A player who reserves a spot on a team is leading the staff on to believe they’re coming. If they de-commit for a better program, they have damaged that team’s class. The staff could have continued recruiting for that spot.

When a program takes a commitment from a kid, that prospect probably shuts down recruiting. If the staff later tells him they can’t take him, then the kid has missed out on a lot of good opportunities.

Thank you, Mr. Prospect sir, but I will decide if I respect your decision. Good luck and have a great day.

I am very grateful that Clemson fans don’t have to deal with that kind of drama too often. Thank you, Coach Swinney.

Next. Clemson Football: Three questions about the special teams. dark