Since 2011, Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy has been coaching under the specter of his early-stage Parkinson's disease diagnosis. There haven't been any notable physical setbacks that have prevented him from being an effective coach and recruiter. However, on the recruiting trail, Kennedy is being badmouthed by opposing coaches. It's nothing new for coaches to use negative recruiting to convince prospects, however, using Kennedy's disease is a line that shouldn't be crossed. Yet, that's exactly what's happening.
Point guard Alex Robinson, became the first Top-100 recruit to commit to A&M since Kennedy' announcement despite being bombarded with rhetoric from coaches who have used Kennedy's diagnosis to convince Robinson to play for their program.
"They actually did [use Kennedy's Parkinson's diagnosis against Texas A&M]," Robinson said to CBS Sports by phone a few minutes after the top-50 prospect committed to Texas A&M. "But I just kinda brushed it off like, 'Hey, that's part of recruiting. [The other coaches are just] trying to get me to their school.'"
"If you talk to Coach Kennedy you can't even really tell that he has Parkinson's disease," Robinson added. "And I'm not going to let something like that [affect my college decision] ... because I know, in my heart, that he's going to be there and that he's going to be fine."
Kennedy wasn't surprised either by other coaches using his disease on the recruiting trail.
Via CBS Sports:
“I learned a long time ago all is fair in love, war and recruiting, so I’m not surprised people would bring up something about my health,” Kennedy said. “There are some insecure assistants in high-profile programs that do whatever they have to do to get a player. But that’s not the norm. I don’t think most people are that way.”