NCAA Recruiting Scandal Pits Miami Hurricanes Versus Florida Gators

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. In this special online edition, Luke opines about the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators getting caught up in another college football controversy.

The University of Miami and the University of Florida are embroiled in the latest college football scandal. The controversy highlights why NCAA rules restricting a recruiter's contact with student athletes make no sense.

Last week, Joker Phillips resigned as University of Florida wide receivers coach after the NCAA received a photo of him while he was talking to a high school recruit at football practice. Florida could be found guilty of a major violation because Phillips allegedly spoke to the player during a scouting event where coaches are allowed to only evaluate recruits.

University of Florida coaches are accusing two Miami assistants of taking the incriminating pictures. Both universities are not commenting on the matter. However, head coaches at several high schools around the state have decided to ban Miami coaches from their campuses.

This could have all been avoided if college coaches were allowed to have more conversations with student athletes than the NCAA allows. By restricting how college coaches can communicate with high school recruits, the NCAA is giving competing football programs ammunition to go after one another.

There is no way an assistant can gauge the character of a high school recruit by simply relying on his grades and a couple of visits during the recruiting season. His job is on the line when he tells the head coach to recruit a certain player who ends up getting in trouble down the road.

When a troubled student athlete robs a convenience store after he's enrolled and on campus, it is the assistant who will get canned. At the same time, a good kid with a 4.0 grade point average at an inner-city school might get passed over because the coach recruiting him couldn't interact with him.

To find out if a star student athlete is a responsible young adult or out running in the streets, college assistants need more time to develop a dialogue with the young man and his family. A coach should not be restricted from having productive conversations with a recruit before making a scholarship commitment.

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