The Face-Off: Recruiting siblings for sports teams stirs mixed reactions

In a Dec. 25, 2006, article titled “At Rider, the Big Picture Is a Family Portrait,” The New York Times reported that Rider has 11 pairs of siblings playing on the same teams in intercollegiate sports.


By Randy Nixon

Rider gaining publicity in a national paper such as The New York Times is positive for everyone. But it is odd that our athletic director would be quoted in the way he was. I was stunned to see Don Harnum state, “Rider had to milk what it could out of the recruiting process. … Any good recruiter has a creative mind, and we’re not an extremely high-profile school.” He makes it sound as if recruiting siblings is our only hope.

I think it is a narrow-minded way to try to boost Rider Athletics. We should be able to get our share of good recruits in other ways. The pool of high school athletes is huge — 549,500 just in men’s basketball, competing for 15,700 spots on college varsities.

In other words, about 97 percent of high school players remain available for some college to try to recruit. Because Rider is a Division I program, we have even more ability to recruit the best in the nation.

As a member of the track and field team, I know that Rider Athletics has recruited and produced student-athletes who rank among the best in the East. Our women’s track and field team was able to defeat a powerhouse that has won the MAAC conference for the past decade.

Our wrestling team is able to produce All-American student-athletes and stay highly competitive in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). We have athletes who are able to do well in their classes and also place with All-East honors in their respective events. I could continue naming each team on campus and the highlights that have been created within the last year, but this information is readily available for the student body’s perusal at

Prospective student-athletes tend to visit here on weekends, when, as everyone knows, most students do not stay on campus.

The change that needs to happen will start when Rider’s 351 student-athletes begin supporting other teams on campus and attending each other’s sporting events, especially on weekends.

The effect should be positive for other students, local residents and business owners of Lawrenceville. It is our duty as members of this campus to become actively involved in improving student life, attracting more talented athletes and creating pride in Rider.

There happens to be several outstanding athletes who attend Rider who are on a team with a brother or sister. It is great that our coaching staffs have been committed to the development of these student-athletes, but to narrow the recruitment focus to family ties seems like a mind-boggling approach. There are no direct statistical results that show an advantage in using family members to bring in results.

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