Trying to walk on without prior football experience? Try again


I got to see two kids get the boot from a walk-on informational meeting in the McCareins Auditorium at the Yordon Center Jan. 28.

Football Operations Director Adam Clark asked the room of about 30 eager students if anyone did not play high school football.

The two kids never did, so they raised their hands and got the boot.

“You guys can leave now,” Clark told the students. “This probably won’t work out.”

An awkward feeling ensued as the two kids looked around stunned.

Clark is probably right. The two guys didn’t look the part of collegiate athletes as they exited the room.

But logic is a key part of decision making. Does it necessarily follow through that because a student never played high school football that he therefore couldn’t play D-1 football successfully?


And Clark’s use of “probably won’t work out” leads me to believe that he knows it doesn’t necessarily follow through. So why not give the kids a chance?

An interesting plot I immediately concocted was if a 6-foot-8-inch, 350-pound student raised his hand, would Clark have been so sure to send him out the door also?

For all Clark knows, the two guys who got the boot played soccer in high school, developed unbelievable leg power and started kicking 70-yard field goals with perfect accuracy this past summer.

I proposed these scenarios to Clark.

“If a kid played soccer instead of football and wanted to try out for kicker, I would think he would have the intelligence to speak up and say, ‘Hey I’m trying out for kicker,'” Clark said.

I would agree. But again, it is still possible that the individuals were just incredibly shy and intimidated. I say just let them try out.

“A lot of kids just see [the advertisement] and say ‘Hey, I want to try out.’ But that’s a waste of our time and their time,” Clark said.

Again, I agree. But how much time does it take to see a kid run a 40-yard dash in seven seconds and then give him the boot? About seven seconds.

I argue that as long as there is a chance that a kid could be a contributor to the team, you at least watch him.

I understand the odds are the two students who were asked to leave wouldn’t have made the team. But it’s not as if members of the coaching staff were going to lose their jobs for watching the boys tryout.

I just hope those students don’t transfer to Ball State and light it up. Unlikely, but it is possible.