Posted: 11:12 am Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Joe Paterno bashes 7-on-7 ‘auction blocks’ 

By Jeff Greer

Legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno is famous for a lot of reasons, but maybe his biggest claim to fame is his courage in saying whatever he wants whenever he wants.

Paterno (Joe Hermitt, The Patriot-News)

Paterno (Joe Hermitt, The Patriot-News)

The 84-year-old coach weighed in 7-on-7 football, which has become a common offseason source of angst among coaches and NCAA investigators. But it has also been the source of fantastic recruiting information, particularly for receivers, defensive backs and quarterbacks.

As 7-on-7 football approaches the status of AAU basketball — where the best of the best play together on premier travel teams, but plenty of extracurricular activity by third parties and coaches involved in AAU has brought major attention from the NCAA and major trouble for several major universities — the debate rages on. Is it good for the athletes and their recruiting process? Or is it bringing another shady venture into the sport, you know, beyond tattoo parlors?

Well, it’s clear where JoePa stands in all of this. Here’s what he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a story published over the weekend:

“There are in-between people getting involved starting 7-on-7 camps, and they are literally putting kids up on auction blocks so people can get a look at them. And there are guys who are soliciting kids to go to a camp and getting paid to bring certain kids to camps. You don’t want those people involved in our game.”

In fairness, in the same article, one of Scout.com’s regional recruiting coordinator Bob Lichtenfels said 7-on-7 tournaments are a great way to evaluate talent.

“For us to be able to go to one place and see that many kids, you can’t beat it,” Lichtenfels said. “Even if coaches don’t totally agree with the camps or with some of the things they hear, for us, you have to cover it. It’s still a great situation for us to be able to evaluate kids, get their pictures and do video interviews. And I think these camps help some kids attract a lot more interest than they may have been getting before.”

So, the question is, what do you guys think about elite 7-on-7 travel teams and tournaments?

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