(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Monday, February 07, 2005

Iceberg Sighting

I had posted on the trial of an Alabama booster who was accused of conspiring with a recruit's HS coach to get the kid to play football at Alabama (conspiring in this case meaning paying the coach money to get the kid to do so). Thanks to the Sports Economist, I can now report that a jury convicted the booster of doing just that (for you lawyers out there, the law is a little more refined/esoteric than I want to get into, but click on the links and read more on the specific charges if you wish).

I agree with the Sports Economist that the result is a good one for the NCAA; I'm not convinced that players should be paid (legally) to play. I do think that they're owed a good education in a meaningful major that gives them solid job prospects in one of life's skill positions, even if it means that the school needs to commit to them a total of two years post-eligibility (in terms of tuition, room and board) to enable them to do so.

The overarching point for me is a public wondering whether this is an isolated incident (and the end of bad blood between Alabama and Tennessee fans over recruiting techniques) or just the surfacing of an iceberg that will inflict more damage on programs and Division I-A football in general as it glides through the waters of Division I-A. The key question: if it happened here, did it happen anywhere else? Is this phenomenon limited to Alabama or does it extend to certain SEC schools, the entire SEC, the entire BCS, or all of Division I-A?

The link in my first post indicated that other schools might have offered a bribe to the HS coach in question to get him to steer his kid to their schools. If that's the case, look for more investigations and perhaps more indictments.

Time, then, will only tell whether this is the tip of the iceberg or a big piece of ice that will cut some messy holes into the hulls of the battleships that are some formidable NCAA football programs.


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