Ethics in College Coaching

Posted: March 22, 2011 in Coaching Philosophy, Ethics

Today I read about Bruce Pearl’s firing at Tennessee because of recruiting violations and lying to the NCAA.

This might be a little of a soap box for me, and maybe not everyone will agree with me, but the NCAA has created an environment that promotes coaches misconduct rather than rewarding it.

I’ve coached both in the NCAA and the NAIA, and I understand whole heartedly the complaints against the NAIA that other coaches have.  I was there, and I realize that the rules in the NAIA lend themselves to the image that we have as the “pirate league” when it comes to recruiting.  But at the same time, in my humble opinion, the NCAA in essence PAYS coaches to push the limits of the rules and not get caught.

In January I read an article about the bonuses the American football coaches received for playing in BCS bowl games, amazing!  $750,000 for just playing in a BCS bowl game built into the contract.  Coaches being paid $5 million to teach a game at an educational institution (and I do realize that some athletic programs are self-sufficient and take no money from students tuition or fees) doesn’t make any sense to me, except for the fact that this same educational institution is paid millions of dollars by the NCAA to participate in their tournaments, bowl games, and TV feeds.

If the NCAA really wanted to crack down on the recruiting violations and cheating then they could easily create an environment that supports academics as the priority over athletics.  But they won’t because they loose too much money if they do.

Bruce Pearl still received a $900,000+ severance package, for cheating.  Does this make any sense to anyone else?  Coaching in the NAIA might be looked down upon by some people, but I’m pretty sure if I was doing some of the things these NCAA D1 coaches are doing I’d be fired on the spot with zero severance pay. 

Again, my soap box.  I just feel like the NCAA D1 power house schools have put a black mark on college sports.  And it’s not a recent thing, it’s been going on for decades.

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