Roundtable: Should Middle Schoolers Be Offered College Scholarships?


The Inside the Loud staff is back with another Roundtable to debate and discuss if Colleges should recruit Middle School athletes.

In recent news, an eighth grader, Jaheim Oatis, was offered a college scholarship to play college football at Ole Miss, Alabama, and Mississippi State, according to Inside the Loud House decided to look at the issue of middle schoolers receiving college scholarship offers in this week’s roundtable discussion.

Q: Is is wrong for middle schoolers like eighth grader Jaheim Oatis to receive college scholarships to play sports?

Neil Adler- Contributor

I get that college sports, particularly football and basketball, are big businesses- to the tune of billions of dollars. However, it’s just plain wrong to recruit a kid before he even reaches high school.

I think back to when I was in the eighth grade, and I couldn’t imagine getting recruited at such a young age. These boys are still children, and there are so many pressures on young teenagers that go way beyond sports.

I have an infant son, and if a college – even Syracuse – attempted to recruit him before he got to high school, I wouldn’t be happy about it in the least. Let these kids be kids and enjoy their early teenage years. Sports are fun, but they are just sports. Enough is enough.

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Paul A. Esden Jr.- Site Expert

Follow: @BoyGreen25

This Alabama recruit is in a unique situation (6’4, 286 pound 7th grader going into 8th grade), but I’ll still say that colleges should butt out. I say the rule should be, at minimum, that athletes must be in at least 9th grade (early high school) before colleges make their pitches. I feel colleges offering a 13-14 year old is bad business, and here’s why.

While I’ve been 5’3, 155 pounds since high school and have never grown: that’s not the norm. Most kids change exponentially, so colleges are either investing in someone getting bigger/stronger/faster or whatever. Let them develop and as Neil said BE KIDS. You only get to be a kid once. Care free, enjoying time with your friends.

They have enough pressures with schools, girls, tests, and peer pressure that they don’t need additional peer pressure from an elite college program. College is important, and sports has its place, but there’s a time and place for everything. Let’s do the right thing here folks.

Josh Peelman- Contributor

Follow: @jnpmessenger

I do think it’s wrong that colleges are going after these really young athletes. They’re not even sure what they want to do with their life yet. I mean think about it. How many of these kids really have a plan for their future at that age (13 to 15 years old)?

Most I would imagine don’t know yet if they want to play football long-term or if they are going to focus on their studies. They have no clue what they’re going to do with their life when they’re in 8th grade. So why should universities and colleges be pushing to get these young immature athletes signed to their institution when they’re not even sure what they’re going to become in the next three to four years?

By colleges making an investment now when they’re in middle school, they’re just possibly setting this kid up for failure in the future. They’re just creating higher expectations that he or she will have to live up to now and in the future.

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I know not all athletes feel like they have to live up to expectations, but if you’re in eighth grader and you’re getting a scholarship offers from Division 1 schools that are at the top of their game right now (like Top 10 in the nation every single year), are you really telling me that they’re not going to have expectations and standards they feel that they’re going to have to live up to when they finally arrive on campus? Let’s be real.

I can understand if colleges want to look at players and say, ‘Hey will check back up on you in a few years and then give you an offer’. However when they offer a scholarship in middle school when they haven’t even figured out their life yet that just doesn’t seem right. Colleges need to lay off, seriously.

Zachary Weisleder- Contributor

Follow: @ZachWeisleder

It is completely wrong. Not only are they playing against defenses incomparable to college or the NBA, but these kids are still growing and maturing. It is wrong because it puts pressure on kids 14 years old or younger. We’ve seen the children of NBA superstars get scouted far too early, and the pressure ends up getting the best of them. It’s wrong to try and dictate an 8th graders path before they get to choose it themself.

Paul A. Esden Sr.- Contributor

In the pursuit of getting a leg up on the competition college recruiters are scouting middle schoolers. This is frankly repulsive and ridiculous. Most eighth graders have just figured out that Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are not real.

There is a reason that you can’t vote, enlist in the military, smoke or drink until you have reached a certain age. Brace yourself millennials, but young people are not capable of making life decisions until they have matured, so selecting a college before you have gone on your first date is laughable.

Coupled with that, for the most part, puberty is just revving up. So with the rare exception, it’s impossible to forecast abilities and skill level five years prior to going to college. In short, let the kids be kids, and stop lurking in the stands wearing your overcoat and pocket full of candy.

Well, ladies and gents, that wraps up this edition of Inside The Twitterbag. Come back soon for another Roundtable discussion from Inside The Loud House.