I don't think the schools are "scared" per se of Gilman and McDonogh leaving. But if they do, the conference for all intensive purposes will be done. Especially for football. It would then be basically the Big East(a conference where basketball is the only thing taken seriously). Also if Gilman and McDonogh leaves, BL and St. Paul's will be right behind them. There goes lacrosse as well.
Kids Younger than 12-14 year olds have been playing football for how long now? Over 80 years(Pop Warner football was founded in 1929)! I mean an argument can be made that football shouldn't be a sport but we all know that's not going to happen. I don't think you have much of an argument against recruiting using this platform.