More than a year since the Mission Prep recruiting scandal made headlines in San Luis Obispo, the man at its center has returned to the Central Coast and is setting up to once again recruit foreign athletes to play at U.S. high schools though Tom Mott says everything's legit this time around.
Following the Mission Prep controversy, which led to the school forfeiting a pair of California Interscholastic Federation titles and getting put on probation, athletic director Mott decided to relocate to the opposite coast and took a coaching position with the Miami Tropics, a professional basketball team in the American Basketball Association.
After the Tropics' season ended in March of this year, Mott decided to move, but stick with a career in athletics.
"I've been doing something in sports my entire life and I hope to provide some of these kids opportunities that I had," Mott said. "Miami is a nice place, but there's no place like home, and I'm happy to be back."
Upon his return to the Central Coast,
Mott founded The 1 Dream Foundation, a nonprofit organization seeking to give global underprivileged students an opportunity to come to the United States for a high school education. Initially, the foundation will target kids from Africa, Europe, and South America. Most will be basketball players, but as the program evolves, Mott hopes to attract students from all sports, as well as theater and music. He also hopes the foundation will prepare the student-athletes for college and life.
Things seem to be falling into place for Mott's organization, evidenced by a successful fundraiser, community support, and local families asking him about hosting international student-athletes.
Despite the advances, though, Mott said gathering adequate finances is the biggest challenge the foundation is facing. He estimates it will cost $10,000 to pay for the travel fees, health insurance, and accommodations for
each student during their stay in the United States.
So far, Mott has recruited just one player for his foundation, which is mainly seeking 15- to 17-year-olds who have at least two years of high-school eligibility remaining a factor that will ultimately enhance their chances of being admitted to a university. Mott said that none of the kids would attend local high schools, and added that he's partnered with schools in the Washington, D.C., and New England areas, where transfer admission and eligibility requirements are more accommodating.