With its latest, ballyhooed reform package, the NCAA finally admits what we’ve known all along: it’s Nick Saban’s world, and they’re all just living in it.
Coaches can now make an unlimited number of contacts with recruits via text messages or social media. Printed recruiting materials sent through the mail are now completely deregulated in terms of frequency or expense. And schools will now have the ability to hire a recruiting coordinator who isn’t a head coach or full-time assistant coach, which is a particularly big deal for football.
All three of those things favor schools with major resources. Alabama, if it wanted, could now hire a staff of people to do nothing all day, every day but send mailers and text messages out to recruits – something the many schools with much smaller athletic budgets probably couldn’t afford.
A change like that, Emmert said, would have probably been a “drag-out fight” as recently as last year. But with the NCAA coming under heavy attack for its lengthy rulebook and how it approaches the increasingly complicated issues of amateurism, a new philosophy is necessary. There are bigger issues to deal with than how many times coaches text recruits.
“We’re not going to overcome those natural competitive advantages people have, but when student-athletes step onto the field they know the other team has same number of players and scholarships,” Emmert said. “They may have a fancier stadium, but we have a chance to beat these guys because there’s competitive fairness. We heard that again and again from student-athletes. That’s what they wanted. They’re smart kids. They know who’s got the shiny locker room and who doesn’t. It’s, ‘Can I go out there and play against these guys?’ I think the students got that faster than the rest of us.”
“They may have a fancier stadium, but we have a chance to beat these guys because there’s competitive fairness.”? Seriously? Does Emmert really believe others are buying the horseshit he’s shoveling out there?
There is certainly a logic to cleaning up some of the absurdity, but let’s be honest here and call a spade a spade. It’s an abdication in favor of the haves. What I can’t figure out is what Emmert thinks he’s saving with this. It does nothing to ease the tension between D-1’s larger resource schools and the rest. The split still seems inevitable.