As we prepare for more upcoming tournaments, it’s becoming more obvious to me the growing epidemic of AAU teams playing down grade levels. The Wolverines continually work to make sure our kids are playing at the grade & skill level they belong, but many AAU clubs have decided to play kids below their grade level, the main motivation being their desire to win.
I understand basketball (and sports in general) is an ego fulfilling activity. But when AAU coaches are purposefully playing down for the almighty win, I call this cheating. I understand if an older player with average skill set plays down, but not when a superior skilled player plays down. Frankly, this is cheating in my book.
I put the onus on AAU national headquarters to find a system that prevents the cheating coaches from continuing this growing practice. After speaking with a tournament director about this subject, we have decided to draft a letter to suggest ways to improve the system. Perhaps an AAU card with a photo? That might be a good start.
After all, it’s all about fair play and parity. When coaches who play down receive medals in a bracket they shouldn’t be playing in, it just doesn’t send the right message. As the great Vince Lombardi said — “Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is.”
AAU Coaches — please do the right thing. Play your kids in their age & skill level.