Thursday, July 08, 2010

Tim Floyd Already Making Bad Headlines At UTEP

Tim Floyd took the UTEP job this offseason while still embroiled in the USC mess. He continues to insist his innocence in the OJ Mayo case, even though nobody believes a word he's saying. Floyd took over a rapidly improving UTEP program that was coming off of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Back in April I projected them to finish second in Conference USA behind Memphis, and most recently I projected them as a 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Floyd made his first recruiting splash about two months ago, collecting Michael Haynes and Desmond Lee, a swing forward and a scoring guard, respectively. But Tim Floyd is like John Calipari - the question isn't whether he'll end up in a recruiting scandal, it's when. And the answer for Floyd is: his first recruit. Floyd made news last weekend by hiring Jason Niblett as an assistant coach. Niblett just happened to be the coach of both Lee and Haynes.

The hiring of relatives and coaches of high school recruits has long been a scandal in college sports. The NCAA has stepped in and passed rules that keep teams from hiring coaches of players to non-basketball positions (if you're willing to click on a .pdf with the entirety of the rules, click here). Floyd has found a loophole by hiring Niblett as an assistant coach, rather than as a fitness coach or as a consultant or something else. Of course, big money college basketball teams now have about a dozen assistant coaches, so it's not a big sacrifice to waste a spot on a guy who will bring you two big recruits.

This became a big story last summer with the recruiting of Xavier Henry and Marquise Teague, and I gave my thoughts and proposed new rules. It's really simple:

1) A school cannot hire somebody who is a relative or coach of a player signed in the past three years.
2) A school cannot sign a player who has a relative or coach that was hired by the school in the past three years.

Pass those rules and you end this problem immediately. Of course, coaches like Tim Floyd and John Calipari will always find the newest loophole. But let's at least make things a little bit more difficult on them.

If anybody thinks that either Floyd or Calipari will not leave their school because of a scandal or an NBA job in the next five years, I've got a monorail to sell them.

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