This week we jump into criminal behavior and targeting of star athletes, a NCAA interpretation regarding the use of electronic communication in the recruiting process, and how the poor economy is forcing many schools to cut sports programs.
Top prep recruit John Wall was arrested and charged with breaking and entering. Now it could all be a mistake or a misunderstanding or some other "mis" you can think of, but still what kind of situation did he put himself in that it could be mistaken for breaking and entering. As much as they don't want to hear it, top athletes are targets for many individuals. Some will give them breaks, but then others will be extra vigilant and look to make a career arrest or conviction. This is the price to play and comes along with the multi-million dollar contracts and endorsement deals. It really isn't all that hard to stay out of trouble: don't get into fights on campus, don't do drugs, if you're underage don't drink, don't steal anything, and don't put yourself in a situation where you need a weapon. These are just a couple of things that can keep a prized athlete out of the headlines and keep a mugshot off the front page.
It's not asking too much, especially since as a top athlete you will have more fun and have more opportunities than the average person. Despite your large income, you will be given things for free from sponsors and all they ask is that you don't embarrass them. Maturity goes a long way in the world of sports and it can be the difference between being Jerry Rice and being Chris Henry.
NCAA By-law Interpretation
This interpretation by the NCAA regarding electronic communications from coaches to potential recruits lays out which forms of communication are acceptable during the recruiting process. It states that email and social networking sites are acceptable to use in the recruitment process; however, text messaging and instant messaging remain prohibited. The NCAA also clarified NCAA Division I Bylaw 126.96.36.199 as it relates to coaches using twitter. Cameron Schuh, Associate Director of Public and Media Relations for the NCAA, confirmed that any messages viewable by the public on Twitter, known as @replies, are prohibited, while direct messaging, which is private, is permitted. This actually ran counterintuitive to what I would expect, as it would seem the NCAA would want to encourage transparency and force coaches to communicate in the open (i.e. @replies and messages on Facebook "walls"). This is a debate for another day, but this is extremely important for athletes to know because it dictates their eligibility and their futures.
Coaches know the rules and should follow them, but as we see every year, coaches do not. You, however, don’t need to be the reason that the team is penalized and you don’t need to be in the headlines on ESPN.com in the middle of a recruiting infraction. Every year brings more and more rules and regulations, as well as penalties and consequences, and it’s necessary that athletes take control of their own careers. Know the rules and don’t become a puppet during recruiting.
Universities Cutting Teams as They Trim Their Budgets
The economic condition of the country is affecting all types of institutions, especially collegiate sports. As stated in the article, all levels of universities and colleges are forced to cut some of their school’s sports programs. This is critical to know for high school athletes who are looking at schools and thinking about their futures. You don’t want to invest in a school only to find out that your sport is being cut. So during your school research, look into the program and if there is any news on the health of that program, ask the coach, and ask the players on the team. It is a lengthy and aggravating process to transfer schools and can add thousands of dollars to the cost of your education if credits aren't transferable from one school to other; and since schools are cutting scholarships as well, it is more likely that you will need to fund those extra credits on your own. There really is no reason to under-research schools and choose one whose program is getting cut.
As always, this blog is for you, so any questions send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and enjoy this week's games.