Along with the rules proposal that we discussed earlier today, the NCAA is also entertaining another significant proposal. This time, it involves head coaches, boosters and the circumventing of going through the schools to give coaches the mega-bucks they all want.
As The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Wednesday, the NCAA is looking at a proposal that could allow boosters to directly contribute to their head coach's salary:
Under the plan, described in a 12-page NCAA document obtained by The Chronicle, boosters could come up with their own bonuses instead of giving their money to the athletic department and hoping that they would have the influence to get it written into a coach’s contract, one NCAA rules expert says.
This idea is being entertained by the same group of people who decided to knock Penn State back a few pegs through sanctions because the "culture" of Penn State was too football first. Well, imagine if the boosters don't need to give the money to the schools in order to get cash into a coach's pocket.
We've already seen boosters throw hissy fits over not being involved enough in the dealings of the schools. After Paul Pasqualoni was hired to replace Randy Edsall, UConn booster Robert Burton demanded his donation back for not being consulted about the hire.
Boosters want influence. This direct line of pay is a gateway to influence growing. The folks who write the big checks get the big say in how things work. A booster in their pocket for influence has been the way many coaches have kept their job. Now, with the proposed pay structure, boosters would have a coach in their pocket.
Having a coach in your pocket is about as "football first" as it gets, with boosters paying exorbitant sums to keep a coach, keep a sport relevant and keep a team winning.
Instead of contributing to the school or athletic department as a whole, boosters would focus their efforts purely on the one sport that they care about—in many cases, football. This most certainly is not the way to prove that sports don't come first. And after Mark Emmert's grandstanding about Penn State, isn't that the message he was supposed to be sending us?