I have been asked my opinion about the NCAA Division I Coaching Scandal regarding the news that four NCAA DI assistant college basketball coaches have been arrested on charges of corruption and bribery in allegedly using funds from shoe company contracts (directly or indirectly) to entice recruits to enroll at their universities.
This morning I sent out an email to our newsletter subscribers and after receiving alot of feedback, I’m posting it on our website as well.
I have many thoughts on this topic given my many years as a compliance director at two major NCAA universities, as well as a consultant to athletes and families through InformedAthlete.com:
The Division I men’s basketball programs are just the tip of the iceberg, I believe. This investigation could easily continue for another year if not more, and could stretch into other sports programs.
One reason I believe this will involve other sports is the increasing contracts that coaches are signing in many sports. It’s very common for the coaches’ salary to come in part from their shoe or apparel deals.
If you’re a high-level recruit, you should be aware that when you are asked to answer the “amateurism” questions in the NCAA Eligibility Center, the NCAA may be looking at your answers as to any travel teams you played on, and the companies or businesses that sponsor those teams, with much more scrutiny.
It was just reported that NIKE’s EYBL summer basketball organization has been issued subpoenas for documents and employee records.
Any athletes (or families of athletes) who accepted enticements or benefits from coaches or shoe companies will almost certainly be ruled ineligible!
It’s only human nature for a prospect to sign with the coaching staff (particularly the coach who was the “lead recruiter” for a prospect) whom they feel most comfortable with and have the best “connection” with.
College sports – especially at the major Division I level – is a BIG business. Except, when it’s your son or daughter who is a collegiate student-athlete, its personal!
Those coaches are influenced by entities ranging from the major shoe companies to the local businesses that sponsor the coach’s weekly radio show or provide them with the use of a “courtesy car.” They do not always have the best interests of the athlete as their primary focus.
You need to research the schools and the coaches just as much as they are researching you (your athletic ability, your academic standing, your social media activity, etc.)
It’s easy for a recruit to be swayed by the “arms race” in college athletic facilities and amenities, and sign with a university that has the newest facilities and the most game-day uniform options, but is that going to have any impact on the education you receive or the lifelong friends you can make at your college?
As an example, while our son certainly enjoyed the opportunity to compete in college baseball in one of the major conferences and play in front of some large college baseball crowds, the season that may have been the most “fun” for him was his senior year with a Division II program where they played with a common goal of reaching the post-season rather than what round they would be drafted.
My advice to student-athletes (and their parents): Choose a college not just for the relationship you believe you will have with the coaching staff, but consider also whether you will still be happy at that university if you were to become hurt and no longer able to participate in your sport.
- Can you be happy with the size of the campus and the number of students in a large freshman-level class?
- Are there things to do in the community if many of the students go home on the weekends?
- Will you be happy if you can’t go home very often, or if your family won’t be able to attend many of your games?
Almost 10 years ago, we started Informed Athlete because we saw so many high school and college athletes and families making bad decisions and struggling because of poor advice and incorrect information regarding NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA rules.
Through the years, our goal has remained the same:
To help guide student-athletes and their parents as they navigate through challenges related to transfers, waivers & appeals, eligibility issues, and recruiting rules by providing accurate information and advice so that the student-athlete and their family can make an informed decision that is in their best interest!
If you have any questions or need advice, please call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.