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Friday, January 27, 2012

Yet another college coach leaves his hand-picked recruits out on a limb at the last second

When Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano signed to become head coach of the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was clearly a big day for him—and a major career decision.

As exciting as it no doubt was for he and his family, it was one that left behind many others whose futures were also affected, perhaps negatively.

There is almost no good time for a head coach to leave a major college sports program.  In fairness, while extremely well compensated, these individuals can also be fired at any time, so their looking out for their own future is, on the one hand, entirely reasonable.

The difficulty comes when a coach recruits a player—as Schiano had while with Rutgers—and gives recruits absolutely no indication about his possible intentions to leave the school.

Personal negotiations for that “next job” are always hush-hush, and understandably so, but if a coach recruits a player with the assurance that he, the coach, will be at the school, it does raise an ethical question—at least when that same coach turns around, without warning, and sings to coach somewhere else, either at another school or as in this case, in the NFL.

The story as reported by ESPN explains things more fully here

Like most anyone else, a coach has rights.  But I do wonder where all the recruiting talk about values, being a team player and keeping your commitments goes when the person who promoted those “values” leaves town suddenly?

As the ESPN story indicated, some recruits and their families were scheduled to meet with Schiano at 8am on January 26.  No one knew why he was not at the meeting.

Hours later they had their answer:  He had signed to go to Tampa Bay.  Rutgers would have to find a new coach, and the players Schiano recruited would have to decide if they still wanted to go to Rutgers, or look elsewhere—with “national signing day” just days away.

A tough decision for Schiano, no doubt, but an even tougher one, it seems, for the young men who had committed to spend the next four years of their young life attending Rutgers—and playing for him.

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