NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – As rapper Warren G once mused, we must regulate.
I imagine even most staunch free market proponents appreciate that the jet airliners they fly on, the food they buy at supermarkets, is regulated for quality. While a lot of factors went into the Great Recession, the lack of regulation in the housing market was a key aspect.
And, no, I’m not Paul Krugman’s brother.
You might have read in today’s Post & Courier, or elsewhere, about the upcoming deregulation in college football recruiting set to effect in Aug. 1.
To summarize a long story, NCAA officials and college presidents have essentially thrown their arms into the air and said ‘we give up trying to enforce this telephone book of bylaws.’ They believe they can no longer effectively enforce its ever increasing rulebook, so they are tearing out half of its pages. I get it. Reform was needed. But what they’ve chose to repeal is curious, and too many coaches, troublesome.
Programs will now be allowed to have non-coaches involved in the recruiting and evaluation of prospects, meaning personnel departments will be created. In fact Alabama, as you might suspect, has already jumped on this and has hired Kevin Steele as its “personnel director,” a title straight out of the NFL.
Coaches will also be allowed unlimited communication with prospects. And there will also be unlimited mailings of material to recruits, meaning custom made posters will be mailed every day, media guides will expand. It’s going to be silly, really.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wonders if facilities might also be deregulated, meaning athletics-only dorms, probably looking like 5-star hotels, could also be in the future.
In short, athletic departments will be spending millions more every year on their football programs.
I thought we were trying to save money? So did Swinney.
Perhaps Clemson recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott said it best: “Ten years from now, we’re going to look back and say, ‘What have we done?’”
Yes, certain rules needed to be removed, like whether cream cheese on a bagel counted as an improper benefit. Common sense, really. And as for the lifting of communication limits, that doesn’t bother me so much as it’s nearly impossible to enforce and if a recruiter thinks he can gain an advantage by texting a prospect 25 times a day, so be it. (More likely he comes off as a stalker).
But the lifting of these personnel and mailings restrictions — and perhaps facilities down the road – is going to create the arms race of arms races and create greater separation between the Haves and Have Nots.
But even the Haves are worried.
“What’s going to happen is these major programs are going to create personnel departments because everyone in your building can recruit,” Swinney said. “You are going to have programs that already have enormous support staffs, now those guys are going to be able to recruit. Everybody is evaluating, recruiting, calling, texting.
“There’s no limits.”
It’s about to get crazy, as Swinney said, and crazy expensive.
Check out this article send to me by reader Bret McCormick:
Unlike the Big Ten’s objections, Georgia’s seem to come from its athletic director Greg McGarity, who saw his coaches eyeing the new rules like sharks before a feeding frenzy:
“It was an immediate red flag,” he said. “We now have about 35 items on the list of what the coaches would love to do. Think about if we gave them a few months to come up with things.”
On the wish list were 200-page, four-color brochures. Fathead posters made in the likenesses of recruits and stuffed inside media guides. Videos of a recruit in a Georgia uniform. Four or five extra staff members devoted to recruiting.
“Some school is going to want to get on the high dive with this and go all in and spend and spend,” McGarity said. “It is going to start a round of competition among schools that is going to be limitless.”
No one, no business, wants to be over-regulated, sure.
But there’s smart regulation and deregulation and it seems like the NCAA will begin an arms race of new spending on Aug. 1. An arms race that no one yet understands the full scope of quite yet. As much as everyone likes to bash the NCAA, it’s easy to criticize a governing body when you’re not governing. And NCAA restrictions did curb spending. Now some are being repealed.
Pandora opened a box.
The NCAA deregulated.