Recently, college recruiters have been forced to look into an issue that has come to light: the notion that student-athletes are exploited by college athletic programs for profit.
Student-athletes are a great asset to colleges and their athletic programs. They are technically employees. These elite high school athletes are a much sought after prize. According to the NCAA rules and guidelines, despite how much money a college’s athletic program generates , athletes cannot be compensated any further than with scholarships and free meals.
Jim Harbaugh was already making headlines last year after signing a $40 million dollar contract for seven years, including a $2 million dollar signing bonus.
Harbaugh has always had a knack for garnering unnecessary attention and gaining enemies within the NCAA and NFL.
Harbaugh is trying to hold spring practices this year at IMG, an academy in Bradenton, Florida, which happens to be a hotbed of talent in an affluent neighborhood.
Taking the team to Florida isn’t about being able to spend more time with the athletes and helping them develop their skills, for Harbaugh, it is strictly about business.
By holding the camp in Florida, he will be able to market his team better to other prospects surrounding the area. Harbaugh has proven to be a salesman more so than a head coach; on his Twitter profile he has his own personal number listed for prospective players to reach out to him.
He has reportedly stayed at student-athletes’ homes on recruitment trips, and has even backed out of verbal agreements with potential recruits last minute.
During his tenure at Stanford, Harbaugh had secured a verbal commitment from Kain Colter.
Colter was slated to be the team’s new young quarterback prospect, but it all fell apart when Colter injured his throwing arm. It was obvious Harbaugh wanted to see Colter’s MRI exams before making anything more than a verbal commitment, but claimed that the real reason he was hesitant to move forward was due to academic concerns. Colton had a 4.2 grade-point average.
Finally, after some time passed, Harbaugh stopped reaching out to the young prospect altogether before telling Colter he should begin considering other options.
As a head football coach, your job is to be a mentor and role model for young men. You need to look after your student-athletes. A student-athlete is a student first, and to treat them like a disposable asset because they are also an athlete is a disservice to the student.
Jim Harbaugh is not an example of a good head football coach, but rather a mirror image of a salesman that knows how to persuade people. He know how to get what he wants, and puts his own best interest before anyone else’s.
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