Via thescore.com, apparently Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo congratulated George Campbell on committing to Michigan. And as the Score points out, this in NCAA violation, because Costolo is a booster for Michigan.
However, let’s examine how ridiculous this is. George Campbell is in essence a “Free agent”. In most markets a person not already tied to a job is not restricted from talking to others. The NCAA has various reasons about this. Most, allegedly, are to keep collegiate sports competitive. Except, college sports are ridiculously imbalanced (Basketball via Dave Berri, Football via Stacey Brook)
Really the NCAA’s motivation for these type of rules are simple. By keeping players powerless, it allows others to benefit. As a case in point, a college coach is the highest paid employee in 40 states! Not only do rules like this do nothing to keep college sports “fair”, they also harm the players!
ESPN’s 30 for 30 has a great documentary – Broke, which discusses why professional athletes are so likely to lose their money. It turns out that to be able to become a pro for many athletes requires going through the NCAA. The NCAA has many rules that prevent players from talking to people (like boosters, agents, etc.) And the side effect is that these players go from making no money and talking to no one professional, to making a lot of money. As soon as they come into money, many people come up to talk about how to deal with their money (family is a particularly difficult one that many athletes list) By preventing athletes from having any access to these people ahead of time, they leave them susceptible to being taken advantage of.
Let’s be clear, rules like this from the NCAA are not for the benefit of the players. Nor are they for the benefit of the fans. No, rules like this are to help the NCAA keep from paying players. And the side effects hurt the players even after they are done playing ball for the university. As the Score points out, it’s unlikely the NCAA will take any action. And I suspect that’s more to do with the power of Twitter’s CEO than the arbitrariness of the rule. Regardless, the fact that rules like these exist and are enforced by the NCAA should make all college fans think once or twice.