Over the last couple of months I’ve been getting phone calls and emails from different parents about the state of basketball. How they go to tournaments and their kids are definitely playing against older kids, but the tournaments are not regulating the rules. The tournament directors just turn a blind eye! Why? Because at the end of all of it, it’s all about the money. Each team pays their tournament fees that can range from $250-$500 on average. So these tournament directors let these things sly, just because they want these teams to continue coming to their tournaments. For example, Basketball Spotlight which is an grade based tournament which has become one of the top tournaments on the East Coast. In their last Tournament which took place in Atlantic City, Basketball Spotlight took in 105 teams. Wow! 105 teams! Now how is this tournament going to regulate the rules? I’m pretty sure the tournament didn’t run smoothly this year because of the increase in teams compared to last year. The problem is that most of these tournaments don’t want to regulate it, as long as those teams are paying their fee. Don’t get me wrong, there’s going to be a time when someone is going to get fed up and force them to regulate the rules, but it’s going to be less often that not.
Zero Gravity has tried to regulate the rules in their tournaments by having teams apply to the National Sports ID. Where they gather some information on your child, like State Id, report card and picture. But even Zero Gravity hasn’t been able to get the teams to cooperate. The only reason I know is because my son’s team played in one of their tournaments and we definitely played older kids. I looked up the team in the National Sports ID site and they hadn’t had not one of their kids registered on the site. At this point the right thing to do would be for Zero Gravity not to allow this team to participate in the tournament, since their team wasn’t registered in the National Sports ID. But no, they allowed them to play because in reality they need the money to cover the expenses of the tournament. Like facilities fees and referee fees. So my only advise to Zero Gravity is to follow through. Make sure that when these teams register for your tournaments that they also register on the National Sports ID. In the long run you will get more teams to play in your tournaments because your tournaments will have integrity and honesty.
I think that all tournaments should follow the same suit. I know that the money is good, but without the kids and the parents their is no money!
The blame doesn’t only fall on the tournament directors! How about some of these coaches looking for edge to win, they are mostly to blame. I don’t understand why coaches think that its okay to have a 14 year old play against a 12 year old. For a win? You have to be kidding me or kidding yourself! Stop it with the egos! Looking to be the best 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th grade coach. LOL! All you coaches should be doing is developing kids. I want to be clear, that I’m not speaking about all coaches, but the select few who decide that’s its okay to cheat! It messes it up for the kids that are participating. I know a bunch of coaches that their heart is in the right place and take pride in developing and also being a part of the growth in a kids life. But I have also seen these coaches that just want ready made players just because they have their own agenda. Which is to win at all cost.
My message to tournament Directors and coaches! Make your money but, please take pride in doing the right thing. If your running either a age base or grade base tournament, please make sure to regulate the rules. Things are starting to get out of control!