Poll: How should HS coaches who illegally recruit be punished?

October 16, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
From time to time, high school coaches throughout the nation are suspended or fired after reports that they illegally recruited players from another school. Punishments vary from one case to another, so we wanted to hear what coaches thought.

In our September edition of Team Sports Strategies, we asked readers their thoughts on how those coaches should be punished and whether the team or school should also suffer consequences. Here are the results of our poll, along with some of the comments.

1) What punishment do you believe is appropriate for a coach who is caught illegally recruiting players from another school?

  • 44.1%: Major suspension (at least a half season, up to a full season)
  • 27.4%: Loss of job
  • 27.4%: Ban on coaching for a set number of years/seasons
  • 8.3%: Nothing — everyone does it
  • 6%: More than a full season
  • 2.4%: Minor suspension (a few games, but no more than a half season)

Reader comments

“For any public schools, or where coaching is a part time job, this should be a guaranteed firing. For coaches in private schools where they are hired or paid to coach and produce wins and secure scholarships I think it’s part of their jobs, and the rest of us must deal with losing players to these programs. Sucks, but it’s life in today’s world.”

“First offense should be a major suspension. It is high school. I am really tired of sports being nothing more than a business. The fun has been taken out of it and playing for the sake of playing is lost. It also sends a wrong message to an athlete. It feeds the attitude that I am the best and if you want me to play for you then you need to give me something. Your program needs me more than I need you. And we wonder why professional athletes act the way they do. It is a learned behavior. Not to mention it is morally wrong. If the coach is caught a second time, they should lose there job, period. It is against the rules and they must accept the consequences.”

“As a high school coach, we are supposed to teach life lessons through the game of basketball. How can a coach teach character and integrity when they have none. If it’s all about winning and not about the kids, then try and get a job in college or pro basketball.”

“The coach knows the rules. He/she is knowingly trying to cheat. Along the was we seem to have forgotten that athletic teams are part of a high school setting. There are supposed to be values that are above winning.”

2) Should the team/program/school suffer any punishment (e.g. postseason bans, stripped of titles, forfeits)?

  • 62.4%: Yes
  • 24.7%: No
  • 12.9%: Not sure

Reader comments

“If wins and titles were attained using ‘illegal’ players, I understand the desire for punishment. Once the responsible parties and ineligible players are removed, then I don’t think anything should go into the future and punish people who aren’t part of the infraction. This happens too often in college athletics, the coach is gone, the players are gone, and yet the new coach and new players are presumed guilty or at least left to deal with the consequences.”

“Schools should have their athletic directors and administrators monitor the students that attend their schools and participate in extracurricular activities. Failure to do so should cause schools to forfeit titles and not be allowed to participate in post season play.”

“This may hurt other players, but the consequences must be strong enough to make coaches feel it is not worth the risk. If you are not breaking the rules, you have nothing to be concerned with.”

“In one way I say yes because whatever was achieved was done because of breaking the rules but then I think that it is not really the athletes’ fault. Everyone should not be punished. Maybe if a title was won, it is marked as violations occurred.”

“If the coach is recruiting players then he is showing signs of wanting to be on the college level. On the college level, the program is penalized whenever the coach breaks the rule. You want to act like you’re in college then you get a ‘college’ type punishment.”

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