Obviously, no one likes to talk about how human tragedy affects something as trivial as college football recruiting, but it would be unrealistic to think that an increase in violent crime on or near a college campus wouldn't affect the choices being made by prospective student-athletes and their parents.
Following the shooting of former South Carolina running back Kenny Miles, Gamecock defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward admitted that opponents do use Columbia's uptick in violence as a negative recruiting tool.
Ward:"In the game of recruting, anything goes.If someone can use something that happens in your city against you, they're going to do that."— Michael Haney (@Haney1075) November 5, 2013
Ward: "Of course we have to face questions about things and the safety of our community. Those are situations you have to deal with."— Michael Haney (@Haney1075) November 5, 2013
Ward: "But any area that you go in, in any city, has bad areas. We just deal with them occordingly."— Michael Haney (@Haney1075) November 5, 2013
This has been a topic of speculation in the weeks that have followed the shooting of University of South Carolina freshman Martha Childress, who was paralyzed after being struck by a stray bullet while hailing a cab in Five Points. Following the incident, the university issued a statement warning students that it is not safe to be in FIve Points after midnight. Gang violence in the Five Points area has been an ongoing concern for the past few years, but recent events have caused the situation to come under greater public scrutiny.
Steve Spurrier asked Gamecock fans to pray for Martha Childress at his press conference last Tuesday, and Martha returned the favor by asking that everyone pray for Kenny.
Y'all pray for Kenny Miles please. It's time for things to change in the Columbia area— Martha Childress (@marthachildress) November 5, 2013