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Your word is supposed to be your bond.

Last week, the McNeese State men's basketball team broke its word, and in the process probably broke a lot of bonds.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Let me explain. Alec Grandstaff is a class of 2019 guard from Rockwall High School in Rockwall, Texas. Grandstaff is regarded as one of the best 3-point shooters in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. McNeese, if you watched any of its games last season, desperately needs shooters. The Cowboys recruited Grandstaff and he committed to the Cowboys on Dec. 19.

Why is that date important? Because it's in between the basketball's early signing period last year (Nov. 14-21) and the regular signing period this year (April 17-May 15). So there was never a point that a committed Grandstaff ever had a chance to sign his National Letter of Intent with McNeese.

Fast-forward to a week ago, Wednesday, April 10, and Grandstaff posted an announcement on his Twitter account via the iPhone notes app, like most young people tend to these days.

"Yesterday I was informed by the (McNeese) head coach Heath Schroyer that they offered two (junior college) players and no longer had a scholarship to give to me," Grandstaff said.

There was more in the note. He thanked the McNeese community and said his recruitment was open again. But the part that I quoted is my main focus.

Let me first start by saying that, as a head coach and coaching staff, Schroyer and his assistants can do as they see fit. I can only assume that they saw players who they believe might be a better fit for their system. I'm also assuming that, by looking at junior college players, they're looking to get kids who already have some level of collegiate experience as opposed to a player coming out of high school who will need a lot of physical development and time to acclimate to the speed of the college game.

I get all of that.

But you'll be hard pressed to convince me that this isn't a terrible look for Schroyer and his program. The Cowboys have been ripped on social media for how this took place. Some people may have doubts as to the importance of social media with this type of occurrence. But I'll say this: word spreads.

Think about it. A coaching staff had a kid committed for almost four months and exactly one week before he's supposed to sign with that school, they take the scholarship out from under him? Schools in the entire state of Texas, specifically a talent-rich area like the DFW Metroplex, will take notice of this and more than likely remember if McNeese tries to recruit kids from their school.

Grandstaff stuck with his McNeese commitment through what can only be described as another bad season for the Cowboys. There have been promises about building for the future, and maybe they will be kept, but Grandstaff had plans on being a part of that future. He showed a loyalty to McNeese that ultimately was reciprocated, and that's quite disappointing.

Recruiting is already a dirty game, and opposing schools that are recruiting against Schroyer will not hesitate to use this as an example of negative recruiting against McNeese.

I guess I can give the coaching staff credit for pulling his scholarship a week ahead of signing day as opposed to the night before or the day of. But how much credit does that honestly deserve?

Another unintended consequence that could pop up because of this — not saying it definitely will — is that the pressure for McNeese to improve significantly increases drastically. If you, as a program, are going to make a move like that, which will definitely harbor bad feelings somewhere, you have to win. One, it will justify the controversial move that was made. Two, fans tend not to care about the controversies as much if you're winning. Right or wrong, it's just how stuff works.

Let me once again say that there's nothing wrong here. Grandstaff never signed, the McNeese coaching staff let him out of his scholarship with enough time to find another school. Whether that is a Division I school or not is up to question, but we'll find out soon enough.

This just feels wrong. It feels dirty. I've dealt with Schroyer and his coaching staff since I got here in October and they've been nothing but helpful. This is not a personal thing.

But just because you can do something, doesn't make it the right thing to do.


David Berry covers McNeese State athletics. Email him at dberry@americanpress.com

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