As president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ board of directors, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has seen plenty of coaches embarrass themselves and their profession by breaking NCAA rules. Following various scandals bringing even more potential rules violations to light, Brey demanded tougher action.
Per USA Today, Brey recently challenged college presidents and athletic directors to take a firmer approach to dealing with rule-breaking coaches. He proposed that schools deal with the coaches more harshly by firing those who are caught breaking NCAA rules, before the college athletics governing body comes down themselves.
“Why don’t AD’s and presidents drop the hammer? We need an explosion back… There’s no hammer from the top of campus.”
Brey also noted that coaches in mid-major programs are not nearly as well-protected by their schools as coaches from Power Five programs. He recalled one instance of a coach stating that if one of his assistants were led out in handcuffs, he would be fired.
“I had a mid-major coach tell me yesterday … ‘Mike, if one of my assistants was led out of the office handcuffs, I don’t think I’d have my job.’“
In just the past few years, top coaches like Louisville’s Rick Pitino, LSU’s Will Wade, and Arizona’s Sean Miller have come under fire for various rules violations. Wade was suspended by the Tigers, while Miller had his contract altered.
The NCAA ultimately vacated wins by Louisville under Pitino, while it has yet to truly come down on Wade and Miller if they become so inclined.
Brey stated that he hopes that accountability starts on the campus before the NCAA gets involved.
“I think we have not maybe been as vocal about some of the things that have gone on. … But I’ll say: Doesn’t it start on the campuses? I feel that’s where the first strong stand has to start. It can’t always be thrown to the NCAA or, hey, how about you guys policing your own?”
Unfortunately, as long as there’s money to be made, there will be money to be made for skirting or breaking the rules to get out on top.