P.J. Fleck Rants About Bitter Rival’s ‘Negative’ Recruiting Tactics

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Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck has a bone to pick with the Wisconsin coaching staff.

On National Signing Day, Fleck gave a rundown of the class the Gophers had signed, and out of nowhere, the Minnesota head coach started ranting how the Badgers had tried to flip Martin Owusu with “negative” recruiting tactics.

P.J. Fleck complains about Wisconsin attempting to “negative recruit.” (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

“Wisconsin even kind of came in and tried to flip him early. Showed me all the text messages of them doing everything they can to negative recruit, negative recruit, negative recruit to flip us, and it didn’t work. We axed it,” Fleck told the media Wednesday.

He further expanded on the situation and added, “That’s what’s great. You get to see all the text messages. That’s the best part of negative recruiting. You get to see all these grown negative recruit in text messages. It’s beautiful. Appreciate everyone sharing those with us because we don’t negative recruit, and it’s really interesting to see that.”

Does this make P.J. Fleck look soft?

I’m not much for complaining, and we all know complaining doesn’t really have a place in college sports. You want to complain, find a different profession.

It’s that simple. Do you hear Nick Saban getting up to the podium and ranting and raving about having to compete for recruits? Absolutely not.

I guess P.J. Fleck just has a different kind of energy.

P.J. Fleck rants about Wisconsin’s recruiting tactics. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Furthermore, negative recruiting tactics have existed forever. Some programs are haves and others are have nots. Even as a Wisconsin man, I can set aside my bias, analyze the situation and recognize the program in Madison is substantially better than Minnesota.

That’s just a fact, and the numbers back it up. Since 2005, the Badgers have had 10 double digit win seasons and have finished the season ranked 12 times.

Is Wisconsin a better program than Minnesota? (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

In the same period of time, Minnesota has one double digit win season and has finished ranked once. If Wisconsin coaches, who are Minnesota’s bitter rivals, don’t point out the obvious success gap, they should be fired for negligence of duty.

If Fleck doesn’t want coaches to tell recruits the Gophers aren’t a great program, win more games. It’s shocking, but it’s also simple.

P.J. Fleck isn’t happy with Wisconsin’s coaching staff. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Until then, you can count on the Badgers and every other team gunning for the same recruits to use “negative” recruiting tactics.

Written by David Hookstead

David is a college football fanatic who foolishly convinces himself every season the Wisconsin Badgers will finally win a national title. Has been pretending to be a cowboy ever since the first episode of Yellowstone aired.


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  1. “Recruiting” is just a notch above human trafficking. That said, PJ realizes that Fickell is going to be a different breed o’ cat from kindly “Ol’ Uncle Paul Cryst”…and he is firing a warning shot across Luke’s bow. …. should be fun to watch!

  2. Eh, I’m cool with Fleck saying this. If you run a clean shop, and don’t trash other teams via text or otherwise, then I think it’s fine to call out the ones that do. Let them know you have receipts and won’t forget.

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