I have lived in Bloomington, IN basically my whole life. My parents went to Bloomington North, I went to North, and my brother is about to gradate from North. And over the years, I have seen some great athletes produced from both Bloomington High Schools, yet, aside from a few choice athletes, most seem to choose to go to other schools. People on the outside may say it is because they want to “get out”, or leave home for better schools. But I know for a fact that it is because most IU programs will not recruit local athletes.
Lets take for example Bloomington South Pole-Vaulter Drew Volz. Drew was outstanding when pole-vaulting. He had come from good genes; his father was a pole-vaulter at IU, and he ended up attending the Olympics. Everyone wanted Drew, but Drew’s dream was to go to IU, to be on the track and field team just as his father was. By his senior year, Volz had won State multiple times, and even the Junior Olympics. IU had shown interest in Drew, but they did not recruit him heavily, nor were the planning on offering him any kind of scholarship. His dad still knew people on the inside, and when he was asking around, why not recruit my son harder, the answer was simple. IU did not like to recruit local kids. They figured their time was better spent on athletes around the country, and that local kids should want to come to IU regardless. The track team already thought Drew was in, even though they didn’t show any initiative that they wanted him. When Drew graduated in 2011, he took his talents to FSU, who recruited him heavily, flew him down on a private plane, and offered him a full ride.
Another example is North Thrower Onyi Afaoku. Onyi had won multiple awards as a thrower. He was definitely a homebody, and both of his parents are professors at IU. The Track and Field team put very little effort recruiting Onyi, thinking that since both of his parents worked here they would have no trouble having Onyi to stay. Onyi ended up signing with Ole Miss on a full ride two weeks ago.
I’m not saying that Bloomington is full of these great high school athletes that constantly get overlooked at IU. But I do feel that the athletes that are D1 material get the same treatment as athletes from all over the country. These are still kids, and they want to feel wanted. IU is overlooking a market that could be extremely beneficial to them, and losing these athletes could really hurt the programs in the end.