In the quest for a college athletic scholarship impressing a college coach with your quality of character is vitally important. Needless to say photos surfacing on MySpace of a recruit flashing gang symbols is never seen as promising. When the photos surfaced the recruits in question immediately distanced themselves from the situation.
Trail said that when the photo was taken several years ago, he was “what you’d call a wannabe.” He said he never carried a gun or committed crimes. According to a search on the Web site of the Miami-Dade clerk’s office, Trail has no criminal record in Dade County. He also said that if a young man in his neighborhood doesn’t align himself with one group or another, he opens himself up to danger. He spoke of times when he had guns pointed in his face, and his knowledge of particular gang members kept him from getting shot.
“They say you have two choices,” he said. “It’s either get down or lay down.” “Get down” means align yourself with a group. “Lay down” means get killed. Trail said he wants to succeed in college so he can escape his neighborhood, so he never has to worry about making that choice again.
Right now it appears that the controversy will blow over and the recruit will keep his scholarship, but the story serves two important reminders. One, recruits need to be more careful with their personal lives than ever in the internet age. However, on a much brighter not the story reminds us that athletics continues to provide student-athletes with another option. I’m sure everyone can agree getting a college diploma trumps the other two choices outlined.