EDITORS NOTE: The NCAA meeting regarding college softball and the push to end early recruiting began on Monday.
More than 12,500 members of the softball community signed the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s petition in hopes that the NCAA will adopt a piece of legislation, similar to lacrosse, that will push recruiting to September 1 of the junior year.
NFCA President and University of Tennessee’s Co-Head Coach Karen Weekly spoke with BTP about the upcoming vote.
BTP: Some of the early recruits commit at such a young age that everything they do revolves around the college program they committed to, why is it important that we change the conversation and this vote happens?
KW: Not too long ago, I read a few quotes from Lauren Chamberlain. She talked about how she quit playing softball for a period of time when she was in sixth grade because it was too much. She wanted to have sleepovers with her friends and wanted to go to the movies on Saturday night instead of being consumed by softball.
I think we are ruining kids lives by forcing them to have blinders on to a whole world full of opportunities and be tunnel vision with softball, softball, softball. We aren’t even allowing them to figure out who they are, what their passions are and explore other things in life.
My generation was able to do all those things whether it was playing other sports or having another hobby. We are just shoving them into these decisions at such a young age. I wasn’t the same person at 18 that I was at 13. Nobody is.
BTP: How do you feel about the vote? Are you optimistic?
KW: I’m cautiously optimistic about the vote (that started today). I don’t know if we are going to get everything we want but we are hearing some positive feedback. I can’t understand why the NCAA is so hesitant to pass legislation that has such overwhelming support from every aspect of softball. From the college coaches to the travel ball coach and from the parents of the young athletes to the athletes themselves, there’s not a single constituency base that isn’t in favor of this. I do not understand for the life of me why the NCAA is even hesitating.