Probably. "A lot of seniors in high school don't realize recruiting's a double-selection process," says TCU's Grider. "I pick you as much as you pick me. Our coaches would cringe to hear me say it, but it's not unlike sorority rush."
Some recruits, on their best behavior around the coaches and players, go native once they're turned over to the hostesses. Coaches will want to know who started the food fight in the student union. "The girls' input is really important," says N.C. State's Purcell, who debriefs weekly. "They'll tell me, 'Oh, he's real humble. He asked about academics a lot.' Or, 'This guy's really a jerk. All he talked about was how great he is.' "
In a spirit of helpfulness, three Stately Ladies offer these guidelines: You're a jerk, says Lee Ann Keeney, if you "take your program and make paper airplanes out of it"; or, says Laura Torres, "if you act crudely at parties"; or, says Lisa Dyson, "if you second-guess the coaches from the stands." All these things actually happened, fellas, and N.C. State's Mata Haris reported each. Mind your manners, or you may end up having to walk on at Rhode Island.
Wait a minute. So the hostesses and coaches consult? What are the coaches telling them about me?
If you're a Parade All-America, the hostesses will know it in advance. (Act humble and they'll really be impressed.) Many have read the Saturday sports pages to find out whether you won or lost last night, or did something that might warrant a little flattery. (Humility is in order here, too.) And they're told anything that might forestall a gaffe. "If we know a guy's a party animal," says Husky Hostess Isabelle Bryant, "we won't take him to church on Sunday."
What else do they do?
Many send follow-up notes on Monday. Coach Grant Teaff, who has refused to start a group at Baptist Baylor, says he has seen notes that read, "Dear Jack: I enjoyed having you here. I'm deeply in love with you. I'd like you to come to our school." If you receive one of these, feel free to take the first and third sentences seriously.
The Solid Gold tidy up closets around the athletic department. Sweet Carolines do at least two hours of filing a week in the football office, and the Texas Angels keep scrapbooks for senior players. No one darns socks.
Oklahoma just finished a stunning recruiting year, and Crimson-n-Cream hostesses helped cinch it with their work over a recruiting weekend in which Norman was hit with its worst blizzard in memory. Hostesses staged an enormous carnival for the recruits. It featured a beanbag toss, a player talent show and a special Dunk-the-Idiot booth, in which Barry Switzer and Brian Bosworth took turns in the dunk tank. Fourteen of the 33 recruits visiting that weekend signed with the Sooners. "Recruiting," says Crimson-n-Cream's Dollins, "is a very creative process."
So, why do these girls do all this? There must be something in it for them.