IMG Academy to Start High School Football Team
Welcome to the future. IMG Academy, best known for training some of your favorite NFL Draft picks, is announcing today that they are starting a high school football team. Top prep players in the Florida area will be able to join IMG’s team and train with them in preparation of a career in college and in the pro’s.
There is a lot of debate about this going back and forth. Should talent agencies run prep teams? How does this effect the student aspect of “student athlete?” How will these kids pay to attend? All of the details aren’t out yet but here is what we do know:
As noted by the Los Angeles Times, among other sources, IMG Academy will host a varsity high school football team for the first time in 2013. To get the program on a track toward future success, the sports-focused school will begin hosting interested football players during the 2012-13 school year. The football team will be coached by former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Chris Weinke and will be hosted at the same site as the rest of IMG’s programs in Brandenton, Fla.
While the IMG program may be destined for future success, that won’t come without serious questions about whether or not the agency should be hosting a football team in the first place. IMG — which features prep sports enterprises like a tennis academy hosted by famed-instructor Nick Bolliteri and a golf school led by David Leadbetter — has more recently begun breaking into full-fledged team sports where the involvement of a third-party entity like IMG are much less traditional.
While IMG launched its soccer academy years ago, its forays into the baseball, basketball and lacrosse world are much more recent. Naturally, all of those efforts will pale in comparison to what it will take to launch a successful football program, particularly in Florida, one of the nation’s most talent-rich, competitive states.
I think the main people who won’t like this are the Florida high school coaches who will lose talent to this program.
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