Every school has pluses and minuses when it comes to recruiting, we all know that. But changing a financial aid policy can have a dramatic impact upon how a coaching staff goes about its work, and it can affect the overall tenor of an athletic department. To me, the decline of Carthage baseball, which was so dominant for so many years under both Augie Schmidt III and Augie Schmidt IV, is an even bigger indicator that things aren't what they used to be in terms of the way that that school operates with regard to recruiting. And it's a lot easier for those of us who don't follow a certain school to dismiss that school's inherent problems than it is to acknowledge them. Wheaton can only admit evangelical Christians with ACTs over 30 (or SATs over 1450), and, since the Wheaton aid package sucks, your mom and dad have to have a ton of scratch in order for you to go there? Big deal, Wheaton fans. Suck it up. North Park has to overcome the fact that it's an urban school that needs to recruit suburban kids for a lot of sports that barely exist in the city? Too bad, North Park. Carthage can't compete as well as it used to in terms of aid for suburban Chicagolanders, so now it has to compete in Wisconsin with much-cheaper WIAC schools? Tough toenails, Carthaginians.
I think that a little understanding and clarity is called for here.
I'm sure the financial aid policy is a significant factor. For me, however, the bottom line is:
* Carthage has two freshmen basketball players (who are both "legacies").
* The freshman classes at the schools that have finished in the bottom three the last four years (Elmhurst, Millikin, North Park) appear to be dramatically better than Carthage's.
Something besides the financial aid policy has to be off here. It just seems strange.