The Miami Investigation and Signing Day Have Me A Little Tired

I am tired.  That is a general statement, but at this moment, I am specifically tired of writing about the NCAA.  I had the idea a couple of weeks ago to pick a stupid rule each day and right a few words on its idiocy.  That is fun and it is easy.  There are 444 pages to the NCAA Division I By-Laws and most of them are written in bureaucratic double speak meant to protect the NCAA’s monopoly on exploiting 18-22 year old sometimes college students and the adults who also want to exploit them.

Today, I’m too tired to do it.  After reading this story about the mess that is the Miami investigation and this being football’s National Signing Day, I’m just too bored with it.

The importance of the Miami investigation isn’t that it is a swamp of impropriety.  It is that this type of impropriety was a part of the NCAA’s investigative culture of at least the last 10 years.  Last NFL season in discussing Ndamukong Suh, Herm Edwards said something on one of the ESPN Radio shows he always pops up on during the season.  What he said was coaches either coach that type of behavior or allow that type of behavior.  That is the way most organizations work and how they establish a certain culture.  So, either the powers that be at the NCAA told investigators that this behavior was acceptable or they tacitly allowed the behavior to continue.  That is what this latest report seems to suggest, Mark Emmert’s protestations notwithstanding.

National Signing Day also annoys me.  Not just because it is the NFL draft on steroids.  The wild speculation on the relative abilities and potential of 17-18 year old young men would make Mel Kiper blush.  The whole object of recruiting is to project the potential of an unformed human being.  Which on its own is fine, but combined with the breathless hype that surrounds the announcements of it is makes the whole endeavor almost comical.  Throw in the fact that the National Letter of Intent is a scam perpetrated by the NCAA and its member institutions.

You don’t have to sign a Letter of Intent.  Not one recruit has to sign one to be a college athlete. All the letter of intent does is legally tie the athlete to the school, not the other way around.  So, these kids are signing a legal document that makes them the property of a school and a coach who could get rid of them at any moment before they sign the grant-in-aid.  I understand why coaches want LOI program.  It guarantees that this kid will get to your campus without being recruited by another school.

Up until a student athlete signs the LOI, he has the power.  Like in a romantic relationship, the one who is being chased is in control of the relationship.  The moment that LOI is faxed over the long and degrading chase to get this kid on campus is over and the power dynamic shifts back into the coach’s favor.

At some point, I will write about coaches.  Football coaches and big time college basketball coaches fascinate me.  Football coaches especially seem to live in an alternate reality that I barely understand.  They don’t view the world in quite the same way I do and I am interested in how they view the things that happen outside the field house.


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