All in the Family

By Kristin Gold  - bio | email | Twitter


Despite Curtis Luper's best efforts, it looks like his son, Auburn High School quarterback Cameron Luper, will be joining the family business.

"It's something, personally I would prefer my children not, my boys not play football because it's a tough way to make a living put it that way, but they always gravitate toward football because they're around it so much I think," Curtis said.

Cameron grew up on the sidelines wherever his father coached. Curtis remembers a young Cameron always asking to participate.

"He was always around, with the quarterbacks and the kickers," Curtis said." After a couple of years he could kick, and I mean really kick. He'd kick 40-yard field goals before he could punt."

Curtis is perfectly fine with his son not playing running back, the position he played and now coaches at Auburn University. Actually, Curtis and Cameron rarely talk football.

"Only time he really tries is if I ask him a question. Other times he's just laid back, lets me try to find out what I've got to do. But, if I can't succeed, then he tries to help me," Cameron explained.

"I'm real hands off you know. He'd probably say growing up maybe I was too hands off on him. When I leave here football stays at the office."

The two worlds, family and football, will cross eventually.  There is an unwritten Luper family rule.

"It would be really difficult for me to coach at one institution and my son to play at another on those Saturday nights," Curtis said. "I'm watching someone else's child and raising someone else's child and can't see my own play. So it would be really difficult but it would be doable if that's something that he really wanted to do. But we do have that unwritten rule that he'll be playing where I coach."

Cameron agrees: "I've always wanted to play for my dad I'm always there where ever he is, so I'm going to go where he is."

But is this family rule and NCAA recruiting violation? After all, rules dictate what kind and how much contact college coaches and high school athletes can have. Cameron is a recruitable high school athlete and Curtis is the recruiting coordinator at Auburn. But, just as Cameron describes Curtis as "just Dad" so does the NCAA.

Amendment Exception B states: "Recruiting contact and evaluation limitations do not apply to a coaching staff member who is the parent (or legal guardian) of a participant in any activity being observed (e.g., practices, contests or camps), provided the attendance by the coaching staff member at such activity does not involve any personal contact with any other participating prospective student-athlete."

"When I go watch him play I leave the coach at home," explained Curtis. "I'm a parent I just enjoy the game I don't talk to any players or anything I'm just there to watch him play and watch his team play. I go to camps with him just like other parents go to camps with their sons, and watch him compete and watch him grow."

To everyone at Auburn University, Cameron is considered family instead of a recruit. He's allowed on the sidelines and able to freely talk with the University coaches and players.

"Yeah they come up but I know mostly what all the violations are so I'm pretty much there to watch the game and have fun."

Even some of Cameron's friends and teammates have an exception. Exception D of Amendment states: "Contacts made with a prospective student-athlete by an established family friend or neighbor, it being understood that such contacts are not made for recruiting purposes and are not initiated by a member of an institution's coaching staff."

"It's my personality to not talk about much football when I'm away because I'm always here and it's always in the forefront of everyone's mind," explained Curtis. "So, when I'm at home I'm just dad those are just friends. I don't cross those lines at all."

"He's just Cameron's dad, if they want to ask a question they can, he's not shy he's not going to act different he's going be him," Cameron expanded.

It's this NCAA Amendment that lets Curtis be just a dad, watching a high school football game on a Friday night.

"It made life easier for me," Curtis said. "Otherwise I wouldn't be able to see my son play."

Seeing his father on the sidelines of his games makes Cameron want to play better: "It's great you know cause he could be at the hotel with his players, nah he wants to be there to watch his son play that means a lot."

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