Play for pay

No, it’s not about football, but the New York Times ran a piece this weekend about Harvard, of all places, relaxing academic standards in order to attract a better recruiting class in basketball.

… Yet the group of six recruits expected to join the team next season is rated among the nation’s 25 best. This is partly because Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker, who starred at Duke and coached in the Big East and Big Ten conferences, has set his sights on top-flight recruits. It is also because Harvard is willing to consider players with a lower academic standing than previous staff members said they were allowed to.

Why basketball?  Well, this may have something to do with it:

Harvard, he said, has chosen to remake its basketball program into a perennial contender for the Ivy title and the automatic berth in the N.C.A.A. tournament that goes with it[Emphasis added.]

Harvard hasn’t been to the dance since 1946.

There are 341 schools eligible to play in the NCAA tourney.  That’s what happens when you go to an extended play format.  If D-1 football adapts something similar one day, expect similar results – and pressures – over time.  It’s human nature.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

3 responses to “Play for pay

  1. dean

    Is nothing sacred anymore? Everybody’s willing to sell out just to compete. So what Harvard hasn’t been to the dance in 62 years. IT’S HARVARD FOR CHRIST SAKES!!
    If my son had a basketball scholarship to Harvard I wouldn’t care if they made it to the dance or not. Don’t know if I would care if they won a game or not. Just get the degree. But since the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree I probably won’t have to worry about that.


  2. John

    I may be mistaken, but I thought Ivy League schools didn’t give out athletic scholarships.


  3. The Ivies don’t, but there is plenty of financial aid available. I believe that a Harvard attendee whose family income is under $75K per year doesn’t pay tuition.