Should athletes decline interviews with the media so that they can focus on the season?

One of the more interesting situations I have seen from a variety of athletes, whether it be basketball or football, is that these prep players have decided that they will be focusing on their season and not doing interviews.  While I can see their reasoning, I also disagree with it strongly because of a variety of things.  The first has to do with recruiting interest. 

Say what you want about newspaper articles or those posted on Scout, ESPN, or Rivals but they are seen by college coaches.  It may be coaches that are already recruiting you and are fully aware of your ability.  It could also be coaches looking for a perfect fit at linebacker and the fact that all of the other in-state schools are recruiting you shows that it is time to start showing some interest. 

Regardless, the fact that you are declining interviews may be perceived as being snotty or too good for the interviews.  Unless you are a very bad interview and tend to say something really bad about the opposition or your team, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be doing these.  As I have said many times, the more pub you can get, the better. 

If you do have scholarship offers on the table and/or have made a college decision, you can decline all the interviews you want.  It makes no difference about what you say or don’t say when it comes to these articles.  Your college opportunities are already on the table and that means this pub is of little use (Outside of possibly getting more schools interested in you) in the long term scheme of things. 

But as I have always mentioned, few readers of this site are actually in that boat.  If you were, changes are small that you would be looking for recruiting help.  And while I will always admit that this is the best free recruiting resource found on the Internet or anywhere else (I am bias), chances are higher that the recruits and parents that read this site are still praying and hoping for that offer to come. 

In my mind, if you want to focus on the season, that is perfectly fine.  But you really have to think hard about what you are giving up.  The first thing is the attention from the article.  As long as the article makes it way up, no matter what website that it is, chances are high that it will be read.  That publicity could help you get attention from coaches.  This is huge because that is likely what you are looking for. 

The majority of interviews that you will do take at maximum ten minutes to finish.  While you can be focused on the season for the other 23 hours, 50 minutes of that day, you can take the time to speak with the reporter about things.  He or she will likely ask about how the season is going, the playoffs, your conference, recruiting, offers, visits, and things along that line.  Unless there is a feel good story behind it, these are the norm for most articles so expect those coming in. 

As I wrote in a previous article recently, I had a recruit offer up his services to do interviews with me multiple times early in the recruiting process for him.  In the end when double digit scholarship offers came, he no longer does interviews.  It doesn’t matter where you are from, he is not doing them anymore. 

While I don’t condone taking that route exactly, he played the game to the best that he could.  This recruit knew that the more pub, the better, especially early on in the recruiting process.  He would make sure that all the major services covered him (He talked to Scout, 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals, and I am sure many more).  When they did, college coaches took notice of him and his ability. 

For those recruits out there that go through this, the only thing I would try to avoid is going cold turkey with the media.  Realize that they did help get your name out there and it is worth doing a few interviews to make up for the help that they gave you.  But then again, it is your call if you want to “focus on the season.”

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