Recruiting pipeline closes as Hargrave ends postgrad football

Recruiting pipeline closes as Hargrave ends postgrad football

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] major recruiting pipeline has closed.

49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks is one of 39 former Hargrave players past and present to play in the NFL.

49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks is one of 39 former Hargrave players past and present to play in the NFL.

Hargrave Military Academy is shutting down its postgraduate football program at the end of the 2012-13 academic year, according to a news release on the school’s website.

More than 150 former Hargrave players are currently on college rosters. The school’s website lists 39 alumni that have played or are playing in the NFL.

College and NFL notables like Ahmad Brooks (Virginia), Charles Grant (Georgia), Vidal Hazelton (USC), Torry Holt (NC State), Bobbie Massie (Ole Miss), Jay Ratliff (Auburn) and Carlos Rogers (Auburn) were among those that got their start there.

According to the release:

The landscape for postgraduate athletes and football programs has changed. This includes: college’s desire to have their student-athletes on campus by spring semester; NCAA changes and restrictions on colleges hosting postgraduate football teams on their campuses; and eliminating competition with the college junior varsity teams.

Hargrave and other “prep schools” allow high school non-qualifiers to work to raise their academic standing, play football and enroll at a four-year school a year or less from high school with five years to play four. The junior college route, on the other hand, requires non-qualifiers to graduate from junior college and starts the clock on their NCAA eligibility.

In the past, prep schools like Hargrave were able to schedule games against “junior varsity” teams from major colleges. The NCAA saw this as an unfair recruiting advantage for the four-year schools hosting the prep school teams, as it gave them an opportunity to scout and recruit the prep school players in a game played on their campus.

Prior to 2010, Hargrave played junior varsity teams from major college programs including North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Marshall and East Carolina.

NCAA legislation killed those games and also began taking a much closer look at which postgrad courses were allowed to count toward initial eligibility, making it increasingly more difficult for Hargrave to recruit postgraduate players and place them in major college programs.

Photo credit: Brant Ward / San Francisco Chronicle

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