“I think you just want to be competitive with everybody else.”

If you’re the Big 12 or the Pac-12 and you’re worried about the spreading revenue gap between you and the Big Ten and SEC, what do you do?

Why, you fret about competitive balance.  And then you start pondering restrictions.

In March, Clemson hired longtime Grayson High coach Mickey Conn to take a position on coach Dabo Swinney’s staff as a senior defensive assistant. Swinney also hired a high-school coach who had developed a powerful team in South Carolina to be the Tigers’ senior offensive assistant.

The hires did not escape the notice of Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and others, who have seen some schools’ staffs swell in size while others have remained comparatively static.

“It’s turning into basketball because what happens is you go and you hire the high school coaches, and then that helps you in recruiting,” Johnson said.

That particular recruiting tactic aside, the increase and disparity in the size of football staffs has gained the attention of coaches, administrators and chief decision makers. By NCAA rules, FBS teams may have 10 full-time coaches and four graduate assistants. While the size of a team’s strength-and-conditioning staff is limited to five, there are no limits on other positions, such as quality control, operations and recruiting…

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is the chairman of the NCAA’s football oversight committee tasked with overseeing competitive issues in the game, said the possibility of a cap is on the table with the committee.

He noted what he termed a growing trend of personnel who aren’t technically coaches but are involved in preparing for games, such as Conn.

“And so I would say that there are some universities where it’s gotten out of control, and I think there’s probably some appetite for some limitations,” Bowlsby said.

Of course, this is Bob Bowlsby speaking, which means things are drawn in infinite shades of gray.

“But then, the other side of it, we aren’t all created equal and we never have been created all equally. You don’t want to go too far down the path of trying to legislate competitive equity, because it’s largely a mirage.”

In short, expect the whining to continue, but little else.  Then again, imagine what things are going to sound like if player payment ever becomes a reality.



Filed under College Football, The NCAA

12 responses to ““I think you just want to be competitive with everybody else.”

  1. Walt

    Bowlsby, the man with the fecal touch


  2. JCDAWG83

    I would think hiring a high school coach might be a good move for about two or three years. After that, the high school kids you were recruiting wouldn’t really know the guy. Three years is a lifetime in high school.


  3. Go Dawgs!

    That last quote sounds like brother Bowlsby wants to make sure to legislate that the SEC and Big Ten can’t leave him behind, but he doesn’t want that to mean that the non-Power 5 schools can catch up to him. I don’t think you can have it both ways…


  4. AthensHomerDawg

    Interesting that a guy who came from the high school ranks and runs a high school offense is bitching about High School coaches.



    No doubt, it is becoming the haves and the have nots regarding special assistants etc…I think they will move to curtail it somewhat.


  6. ASEF

    The easiest way to curtail it is more player compensation.

    The problem with curtailing special staff for the football program via legislation is that it will become special staff for the athletic department. Or paid part-time consultants. Or a HC with a salary of $12 million who redirects $5 million of that into a non-profit service organization that happens to employ a lot of ex-coaches – who happen to spend a lot of time at NCAA satellite camps satiating their love of the game and need to mentor young people during the off-season. Who happen to conduct free speaking engagements at various high schools. Who happen to work with youth clinics. You know, to teach technique, to make the game safer and to keep this great sport of football growing.

    The extra money doesn’t just disappear. It’s simply transferring to yet another “unfair advantage,” and the more it transfers to silly “unfair advantages” (like wading pools and fountains in the atriums of weight rooms), the greater the public mood to pay players.

    People like Bowlsby and Hancock have to make the aggreived feel heard without committing to any rhetoric that might move anyone else away from the status quo. It’s a job.


  7. FisheriesDawg

    Rumor has it that Conn was runnoft because the GHSA was about to come calling and his college buddy Dabo gave him a soft landing. This may be more isolated than PJ thinks.

    Besides, half of Grayson’s starters this year won’t have even played for Conn by the time they finish accepting new summer transfers. Then Dabo will have to turn around and hire Jeff Herron next offseason if he wants to keep the pipeline going.