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A Techno-Digression

Quin Snyder has received a lot of credit for two things - a) bringing
business principles to coaching, and b) embracing technology. We were
thinking of the technology stuff the other day and realized that there was a
pretty glaring loophole the NCAA hasn't even come close to addressing - instant

We imagine Quin has thought of it though we don't know if he has used
it. But we imagine a lot of young coaches have thought of it and some are
no doubt using it. We'd lay odds Billy Donovan is, for instance. He says he
stays within the rules, and as of today, IMs are certainly within the letter, if
not the spirit, of the rules.

It just points out again the difficulty of patrolling the basic issues and
the repeated scams (SAT cheating, money changing hands, cars, jobs for relatives
etc), much less the speed with which technology changes. IMs are fun and still
fresh and until they are intrusive, like phones have become, people will embrace
them - particularly kids.

Here's an imaginary conversation - "Hey, 'Twan, I'm here at the gym with
a friend of mine. Say hello to Amber, she's the head cheerleader..."
"Hi, 'Twan, when are you getting here?"

Yada yada yada.

Just as another example - electronic banking now would allow, say, an overly
aggressive assistant to bypass the Emery envelope of yore and just transfer
money directly into an account. The kid's bank card then takes it out. Voila! To
make matters cleaner, the transferee could just as easily be a booster.

Or, for that matter, when smart cards come in, what's to prevent someone from
zipping those things out? Not much. It's not a far stretch, for that matter, for
everyone to have a device on their machine where they can put a card in and load
it up with mullah from an account somewhere or another.

Still, the problem remains the same - it's grown men with millions of dollars
at stake, who rely on teenage kids, who are too often woefully unprepared for
school, much less for manipulative coaches (and agents and girlfriends and
parents, for that matter) who will promise them sex, fame, and
money. The NCAA can tinker all they want to but until they figure out a
basic way to either make clear that the fundamental deal (a free education for
playing ball for good ol' State U) is a very good deal, or else to figure out a
different way to explain why this big pile of money doesn't go to the players,
they'll never make the system work. One possibility might be annuities
which would be contingent on graduation, but really, the free education itself
is a spectacular deal, and very few students come out of school with the overall
opportunities of, say, Quin Snyder or Bret Bearup: a lifetime of connections,
dozens of opportunities from which to choose, and no debt from one's
education. But explaining that to a kid who has nothing is difficult.