Poll results: Should the NCAA legislate against schools hiring associates of prospective student-athletes?

Poll results: Should the NCAA legislate against schools hiring associates of prospective student-athletes?


June 14, 2017

Devin Bushes (image via Detroit Free Press)

There has been talk – especially around Michigan since Jim Harbaugh’s hiring – that the NCAA should legislate against the hiring of relatives or associates of prospective student-athletes. The reason is that such hiring appears to be an “impermissible benefit” and unfairly lures certain players to schools. Here were the results of the poll:

No: 72%
Yes: 17%
Yes, but excluding immediate family: 10%

I hold the belief (an antiquated one, according to some) that players in the NCAA should not be paid, partly because paying them becomes very unwieldy when non-revenue sports are taken into account. But I really have no problem with schools hiring parents, coaches, or associates of a player. Speaking of unwieldy, how would one go about preventing anyone associated with a player from getting a job at the university? If a player’s uncle played in the NFL for 10 years, can he not be hired by a school because his nephew is a good high school football player? If I’m a successful high school coach in the state of Texas, should I not be eligible to move up in the coaching ranks because I have five FBS prospects on my team who are being recruited by a bunch of major colleges?

Let’s look at the example of Devin Bush, Sr., who played in college at Florida State, went on to an NFL career, and then won a couple state championships at Pembroke Pines (FL) Flanagan. He had high-level prospects¬†– even if you don’t count his son – like Devin Gil, Josh Metellus, and Stanford Samuels III on his roster who were being collectively recruited by a huge number of FBS schools. If legislation had been in place, he would have been banned from being hired by almost any FBS school, simply because of whom he knows. Not only does that seem un-American, it also discourages upward mobility and prevents qualified people from getting jobs that suit their skills.

Of course, the opposite end is that it prevents schools from handing out money to unqualified people, but there’s only so much you can do to prevent institutions from making bad hires. If a school wants to spend $80,000 a year for some unqualified schmuck to be an “adviser,” then they have to answer to the taxpayers, regents, donors, etc. I don’t think this will come to fruition at any point, because the NCAA already has too much to do and not enough manpower or time to do it. They can’t handle another whole universe of potential violations to investigate. But it’s interesting that some schools are bemoaning the hiring practices of other schools when it comes to athletics, while many schools offer free tuition to the children of professors. An engineer with a college-aged son can get hired as a professor and see his son get an engineering degree for free, but a football coach with a college-aged son shouldn’t be able to get hired at all if his son happens to be good at football, too.

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11 comments

  1. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jun 14, 2017 at 1:49 PM

    I’ve never heard a thoughtful answer to the question of how to address non-revenue sports and lower-level programs (non-revenue) if NCAA athletes are to be paid. The issue is generally dismissed in these debates.

    The problems with the big money power conference programs in basketball and football are significant but they represent a tiny minority of NCAA athletes.

    I do think coach salaries and facilities costs should be capped and/or aggressive revenue-sharing mechanisms in place to control lavish spending. Furthermore, if the NFL is going to continue to reap the benefits of using the NCAA as a free development league, they should be paying for it (to either the NCAA, drafted players, or both).

    I still don’t get why Drew Henson was allowed to be a paid athlete in one sport and compete as an amateur in another. Who cares if it’s the Yankees or Giants paying him? It does seem like other sports have better models.

    While the NCAA is continually demonized for the issues that arise, the real villains are the NBA and NFL for preventing these kids from getting paid as professionals due to their age.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 14, 2017 at 8:57 PM

      I agree that other sports have better models, but one concern I have is the timing of the NFL Draft. If a kid gets drafted on May 1 (or April 28 or whatever) and decides to leave, then it’s tough to replace him on the 85-man roster. You’ve got National Signing Day in February, spring practice in March/April, and then the NFL Draft. If Wilton Speight goes through spring practice as Michigan’s starting QB, gets drafted on April 28, and then leaves for the NFL, Michigan gets hung out to dry because the guy who got all the starter’s reps in April is gone, AND you’ve got one empty scholarship.

      I agree that people generally seem to dismiss the argument that non-revenue sports are going to eat up a bunch of money, too.

      I don’t think the NFL is a villain for preventing 18-year-olds from playing in the NFL. 18-year-olds aren’t physically or mentally ready to play in the NFL. There are a lot of jobs with age, certification, education, etc. requirements. If you want to be a realtor, you have to pass a test. If you want to be a lawyer, you have to pass an exam. If you want to be a teacher, you need a degree and a certification.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jun 14, 2017 at 11:11 PM

        The timing of the draft seems like a separate issue. Don’t you have to declare well before spring ball? Maybe I’m missing your point.

        If 18 year olds aren’t ready for the NFL then the NFL could elect not to draft 18 year olds. As simplistic as that sounds it’s valid. Especially with the salary cap structure of the NFL which doesn’t allow for much development time before free agency.

        Anyway they are prohibiting people from playing in the league well beyond 18. For RBs especially this is something that significantly inhibits their livlihood and career longevity.

        The rationale for the rule is to protect teams from themselves. The NBA is far more open about this – and they don’t have the same issues with physical preparedness.

        I don’t see the parallel to passing the test because age and qualification aren’t the same thing. Realters don’t have to be 30 years old. Leonard Fournette was well qualified a year ago, if not 2.

        • Comments: 3845
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Jun 15, 2017 at 10:22 AM

          You’re talking about other sports having better models, and that includes baseball and hockey. Both of those sports have drafts where there’s plenty of time between the draft and the beginning of the season to make corrections. If you get drafted in June as a college baseball player and decide to leave, the team has until the next winter to replace him. If you get drafted in May as a football player and decide to leave, you’ve got players moving to campus in June and practice starting at the end of July/early August.

          You’re talking about other models, and yes, they’re good because draft picks can still play baseball and hockey if they’re not ready to go pro yet. With the timing of the football draft and football season, it would be unfair to the college teams to use that same model.

          • Comments: 6285
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Jun 15, 2017 at 11:29 AM

            Thanks for clarifying. I think there are a few different ways to tweak things the rules to handle the timeline issues.

            I’m sure there are many more legit issues like this that prevent either model from being transferred 100%. Every sport is a little different but I think the concept of getting drafted and staying in college can work well.

            I think football is in a unique position where the NCAA is the best possible development league for college age kids. Hockey, Baseball, and Basketball all have many alternatives that are closer to the pro leagues. I think that is a significant to this concept.

            It could also make college football more interesting to the many pro fans who ignore it.

      • Comments: 6285
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Jun 14, 2017 at 11:12 PM

        Maybe the NFL should force every player to drink alcohol at halftime to exclude under 21 year olds.

  2. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Jun 14, 2017 at 1:50 PM

    Also agree about hiring coaches related to student athletes. It doesn’t make any sense.

  3. Comments: 359
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Jun 14, 2017 at 2:56 PM

    Interesting that you should review this poll today. I have kept my eye on it since you first put it up and the 72/73% against hiring legislation has been nearly constant since the beginning. Perks in the academia world who would have thunk it?

    806 votes! Does that include only members?

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Jun 14, 2017 at 8:46 PM

      Yeah, it did stay pretty constant. No, non-members can vote on polls. They just can’t upvote or downvote comments/posts.

  4. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Jun 15, 2017 at 1:54 AM

    Yep, couldn’t have said it better myself

    “Not only does that seem un-American, it also discourages upward mobility and prevents qualified people from getting jobs that suit their skills”

    • Comments: 6285
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Jun 15, 2017 at 11:30 AM

      same goes for the age limit IMO

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