The most interesting piece of news from the most cutthroat, vicious, win-at-all-costs recruiting niche in the world - no I'm not talking about the market for hotshot Silicon Valley techies, but rather top-flight scholastic football players that just like the rockstar coders, typically have their choice of fantastic options to pursue, will probably surprise and maybe disgust you.
Here it is:
Lousiana State University offers scholarship to promising 8th grader. From the ESPN piece:
Last week, a hopeful prospect showed up at LSU's July football camp. He posted an impressive 4.46 40-yard dash, and he earned a scholarship offer from the Tigers' coaching staff for his efforts.It's a scene that plays out on college campuses every single summer, although this offer was different for one main reason -- Dylan Moses has yet to start eighth grade.Considering the Tigers are only just starting to hand out offers to members of the Class of 2014, it came as a bit surprise for a 2017 prospect to get one.
Nice. Or a little unsettling depending on your point of view. LSU is a consisent national title contender, and plays in the most competitive and most talented football league in the country. They're one of the top organizations in an incredibly challenging market, and one where the difference between exceptional and average is often decided by the outcomes of one or two games. An environment where finding, recruiting, acquiring, and developing talent is the most important differentiator between success and failure.
Perhaps, at some level, similar to the environment in which your organization operates and competes.
The question I think the LSU recruiting the 8th grade athlete story raises for the rest of us isn't if is it proper or ethical for LSU to start the hard sell in middle schools, but rather one that challenges our own commitment to acquiring the best talent possible in our organizations.
LSU is willing, for better or worse, to compete for talent at the highest levels, with the highest stakes, and for them, at least in this example, that means doing things that seem out of the ordinary, and taking actions that many of their competitors might shy away from.
Is it wrong? Does it cross some kind of line?
But ask yourself - if you are one of the many companies that is having trouble finding that rare talent you need, are you doing whatever it takes to land the talent you seek?