The story goes on to recount the basketball legacy of that family at Metcheun; no word what her father or uncles did with their lives after their high school basketball careers. Mabrey and Flaherty had transferred to Point Pleasant back in 2012 from Manasquan; they've had stellar careers wherever they went. But it seems far-fetched to think they kept transferring because their families had to move for career or other personal reasons.Katelynn Flaherty is eligible and is expected to play next week at Metuchen after the All-State point guard enrolled at the school Thursday, Metuchen athletic director John Cathcart said Friday.The eligibility status of All-Stater Marina Mabrey, Flaherty's former Point Pleasant Beach teammate, is still uncertain, said Manasquan athletic director Ron Kornegay, who confirmed that Mabrey completed her transfer to the Monmouth County school Thursday.Cathcart said Flaherty has met the NJSIAA change of address requirements, so she will be exempt from the state's 30-day waiting period. Flaherty’s intention to transfer to Metuchen was reported Thursday, and Cathcart confirmed that the senior enrolled that day at the Middlesex County school.“Once she changes venue, she becomes automatically eligible,” he said. “And she and her family are now living in Metuchen."
I don't want to pick out these particular girls or their families, however; like I said, this isn't an isolated incident:
Every team that won a football or basketball championship last season in the top division of the Southern Section or City Section had transfer students playing important roles. It's a trend that began to accelerate in the last decade.
Exacerbating this is the rise of the sports-oriented charter school, something I've written about before. But let's be clear: even without those charters, this has been a long time coming. Private "basketball schools" have been around for years; the competition for recruits now extends down to as low as fifth grade.
The prize for the players, ostensibly, is a scholarship. But as college sports have become big business, we are confronted with scandal after scandal after scandal, all adding together to show an unquestionable truth: college athletes are being used to make oodles of money for both their schools and for a sports-entertainment industrial complex that eats up and spits out young players faster than it can design new shoes.
High schools - whether private, public, or charter - should not be abetting the exploitation of student-athletes by creating what is essentially a farm system for the NCAA. If college scouts are so bad at picking out talent that they can't recognize an exceptional athlete on a so-so team, that's their problem: we shouldn't be making life easier for them by turning some schools into powerhouses at the expense of the integrity of the entire system.
And think about the teammates of the potential D-I players: how is their morale helped by never knowing if the stars will be around to help their team or take their positions? What does it feel like to lose your job on the varsity squad when a player already committed to Michigan moves to town in the middle of your season? How does it feel to be left behind when your best player leaves school just before conference play starts? I understand these players' families think it's important to go after that brass ring... but there are other families affected as well.
May I stretch a point a little? This attitude is not being helped by a mindset that views education simply as a preparation for a job. If "college and career ready" is our sole focus for schooling, we shouldn't be surprised when student-athletes - and, indeed, all students - become mercenaries.
Our obsession with creating an education system whose primary function is to feed the job market is inevitably going to lead to behaviors like this. We are teaching the kids that their number one goal is to get what they can, whatever the cost. Civic pride, like playing for your home town, is a quaint notion; loyalty and teamwork are valuable only in what they can do for you as an individual.
Of course, this is a natural response to being used: if big universities and TV networks and apparel brands are going to make a ton of dough off of student athletes, those players will naturally want their cut. That is the beauty of the unrestrained free market.
Except, when you get down to the level of teenagers (or younger), it doesn't always look so beautiful, does it?
Andre says: "Kids, get what you can, however you can!"