“This is what’s wrong with recruiting.”

This is one of the funnier things I’ve read lately.  For once, Mark Emmert has a good idea – deregulation of some of the NCAA’s byzantine recruiting rules – and actually follows proper procedure in implementing proposed changes, allowing the membership the opportunity to give feedback about the new rules.  So what happens?  The rules come out and the Big Ten freaks out.

As part of its deregulating agenda, the NCAA announced 25 recruiting revisions in January. Three proposals, which eventually were tabled and  suspended, would have granted programs unlimited contact — including through text messaging — with athletes before their junior seasons. Another would have allowed programs to hire non-coach personnel directors for recruiting and a third would have eliminated restrictions on sending printed recruiting materials to recruits.

Less than a week after national signing day, the league’s football coaches and athletics directors issued a statement admitting there are “serious concerns” about the three rule changes and how they would impact the sport and the schools. The statement also questioned if the changes “are in the best interest of high school student-athletes, their families and their coaches.”

Several Big Ten coaches voiced their concerns publicly to the changes, including Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, who said college athletics could become like Major League Baseball where the New York Yankees “start in the inside lane every year. They’ve got the biggest payroll.”

Other Big Ten coaches shared similar concerns. In mid-February, Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer sent a text message to Northwestern counterpart Pat Fitzgerald, writing “that there are already teams that have made plans to have separate scouting depts. [sic]. there has already been nfl scouts that have been told they will be hired to run the dept. (hired for over 200k). I checked with an NFL friend and he confirmed that there was much conversation about this. Appealing to scouts because of no travel. Also, there has been movement to hire Frmr players/coaches with big names to work in that dept. and recruit full time. This will all happen immediately once rule is passed. Thought u should be aware if [sic] this nonsense to share with who u feel can assist.”

Now keep in mind that all this financial hand wringing is coming from the richest conference in the land (Ferentz, notably, makes almost $4 million per year).

Delany, displaying his usual charm and tact, publicly announces his conference’s displeasure with the NCAA’s new course without letting Emmert know what’s coming.  That’s when it really gets hilarious.

The legislation ignited an email chain among league presidents, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and NCAA President Mark Emmert. Delany wrote Emmert on Feb. 14 apologizing for not calling him before the league’s Feb. 11 release but hoped the NCAA would delay the rules’ implementation or risk presidents overriding the legislation. Delany wrote that he wanted to maintain the NCAA’s reform deregulation agenda but feared the rules would result in “another level of staffing” for football programs.

Sorry we sandbagged you, Mark, buddy, and we support your agenda – except where we don’t.

Emmert’s response is spot on.

“If now the membership doesn’t want some of these changes, fine by me,” Emmert wrote. “But to be honest, I don’t know how the membership wants to make decisions. The process used to make these changes was as open, representative and democratic and I could imagine — other than the old town hall convention model I suppose.” Emmert also mentioned Big Ten staff worked on the group. Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon chairs the NCAA executive committee.  [Emphasis added.]

(Of course Emmert, being Emmert, couldn’t hold the moral high ground without making at least one pointless and stupid observation, saying about one of his members, Rice University, “who I don’t believe is a mainstream D1 school,”.)

Delany’s response to Emmert is a classic.

Delany wrote that administrators understand the need for simpler rules, but added “I’m not sure anyone has an appreciation of the compulsions, competitiveness and energy that underlies that pursuit of a 16 year old recruit by an assistant coach at our institutions. This process of pursuing athletic talent nationally and globally is something we have never found even a half way healthy way of managing/regulating. This continues to be the case.”

This from a guy who’s never been shy about inserting himself into management issues at member schools.

Now he’s just the driver of the clown car.


Filed under Big Ten Football, The NCAA

11 responses to ““This is what’s wrong with recruiting.”

  1. Dog in Fla

    Rice MOB has already completed two of its 2013 halftime shows: “Emmert, What Is It Good For?” and “Up Mark’s Mainstream With a Paddle and Without Anesthesia”


    • Cojones

      DIF, you are hereby nominated to conjure up halftime tunes for the Redcoat Band. Not sure how many here like to follow the Rice Band, but those would actually be hilarious performances. Too bad Adams is leaving soon.


      • Dog in Fla

        Thanks! As the enemy once said, “If nominated, I will not accept; if drafted, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.” But if I change my mind, for first halftime show against South Carolina (plus-size guy drum major to be topless in honor of Old Ballsack), I would replace Battle Hymn (because what are we doing with a Yankee* song?) with guitar serenade dedicated to Gloriously Departed Dear Leader MFA and McGarity

        * “Battle Hymn” was long considered a Yankee song by southerners. During a 1960s hymnal revision, some southern Methodists had urged its omission. My mother recalls often provoking her grandmother, the daughter of a Confederate cavalryman, by asking her to play the “Battle Hymn” on the piano, which she always angrily refused. The original Methodist camp meeting song was not regionally or politically controversial. But early revivalism, with shouting, fainting and even barking, was controversial.”



        • Cojones

          My Methodist Mom played beautifully by ear as well as did her sister (who played for her church until retired after 50 yrs). When my aunt’s estate was sold I requested one possession, her Methodist Hymnal, which is displayed in my home. She could play every song from memory and would correct your music-reading ability if you didn’t hesitate correctly for notes while singing an obscurely-sung hymn.


        • Cojones

          My Methodist Mom played the piano wonderfully by ear. Her sister had the same talent and was retired after 50 yrs as the pianist in her church. You brought back great memories of both. When my aunt’s estate was sold, I requested only her Methodist Hymnal which occupies a place of respect in my home. She and Mom spoke lovingly of camp meetings and the great times they had as girls.


          • Cojones

            Oh, and my aunt could play every song from memory and correct you if you misread the notes and didn’t pause long enough even when playing and singing the more obscure songs in the Hymnal.


  2. AthensHomerDawg

    “Now he’s just the driver of the clown car.”


  3. 69Dawg

    The NCAA is an organization that gives life to the old saying “they can swallow a camel but choke on a gnat”. You can’t give a recruit a 5 dollar t-shirt but you can hire a staff to harass 16 year olds. They should forbid any contact with any high school player until the summer before his senior year. They can look at film they can salivate but they can’t contact.


    • The other Doug

      But what about relationship building?!?!?!? You can’t expect a coaching staff to build the correct relationship with the recruit, his family, and pastor in just a few short months.


      • Cojones

        Yes. Bag money doesn’t happen overnight.

        69Dawg, that “naive” suggestion should be taken to heart in its totality. It certainly would reduce the player, family, coaching and fan angst brought on by the recruiting process.


  4. You have to feel for Ferentz. How can he be expected to hire a recruiting/scouting staff when he is running out of family members to hire?