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Offering To Find A Prospect’s Girlfriend A Job Appears To Be Perfectly Legal… In Football

Yesterday morning and afternoon, if you checked or Yahoo Sports! or The Birmingham News (via or any number of other sites, you saw that the mother of an Alabama signee had accused Nick Saban of offering her son’s girlfriend a job working in the school’s football offices.  The suggestion being that Bama was being good to the girlfriend and the girlfriend was helping Bama land the recruit in return.

In just about every story that referenced the bizarre Landon Collins’ recruitment, the following NCAA rule was cited:

“During a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position.”

Pretty clear.

Only it isn’t.

The rule cited — bylaw 11.4.2 applies to basketball only, not football.  Yep.  You read that right.  While a basketball coach can’t hire anyone associated with prospect, a football coach is apparently free to do so.  According to good ol’ 11.4.2.

If that makes sense to you, you’re either an NCAA wonk or an Alabama fan (who’d be arguing just the opposite if Gene Chizik were the coach in question and not Saban).

On the basis of 11.4.2, we got it wrong.  Mea culpa.  We don’t like getting facts wrong, and we have no problem admitting mistakes when they occur.  But rather than simply erasing the line from our original post as many other sites have done, we thought we’d give this issue a full post because more people — obviously — need to be aware of the rule… and the fact that what’s good for football coaches isn’t good for basketball coaches.

That specific bylaw went into effect in January of 2010 and it was designed to curtail the growing practice of hoops coaches hiring people as a means of luring in a recruit who is somehow connected to the folks being hired.

Would the NCAA view a girlfriend as one of those people who could not be hired?  Here’s what bylaw 17.6.1 states: “Any person who maintains (or directs others to maintain) contact with the prospective student-athlete, the prospective-athlete’s relatives or legal guardians, or coaches at any point during the prospective student-athlete’s participation in baksetball, and whose contract is directly or indirectly related to either the prospective student-athlete’s athletic skills and abilities or the prospective student-athlete’s recruitment by or enrollment in an NCAA institution.  This definition includes but is not limited to parents, legal guardians, handlers, personal trainers and coaches.”

So, yes, it does appear that hoops programs would be unable to provide employment for a players’ girlfriend.  It seems odd — odd enough that the loophole might eventually be closed — that what’s illegal in one NCAA sport is legal in another.  Basketball coaches might want to ask a question about why what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander.

But we’re not finished.  To make things more confusing, check out bylaw 13.2.1:

“A representative of a Division I institution is not allowed to, directly or indirectly, make arrangements for or give any financial aid or other benefits to a prospect or a prospect’s relatives or friends.”

In such a case, “Benefits include, but are not limited to: Employment arrangement for a prospect’s relatives; Gift of clothing or equipment; Cash or like items; Any tangible items, including merchandise; Cosigning of loans; Providing loans to a prospect’s relatives or friends; Free or reduced-cost services, rentals or purchases of any type; Free or reduced-cost housing; Use of an institution’s athletic equipment; Sponsorship of or Arrangement for an awards banquet or prospective athletes.”

Let’s get all this straight.  Basketball programs can’t give jobs to a recruit’s buddies, family and contacts.  Football programs can.  Unless you take bylaw 13.2.1 seriously.  In which case, it would appear that football programs might not be able to promise employment to family (and perhaps friends), either.

To get to the bottom of this, we have attempted to contact five SEC compliance directors to discuss these rules and to determine what limitations are put on a school regarding the employment opportunities it can offer a recruit’s family or friends.  Usually, we hear back quickly when we put in requests like this.  In this case — silence.

And what about a school straight-up promising to find a job for a recruit?  When Tide commitment Justin Taylor said earlier this month that he’d been told by Alabama coaches that they would help him find a job, that too set off a wave of national discussion on what’s legal and what isn’t.

Well, NCAA bylaw states that “an institution may arrange for employment or employ any prospective student-athlete” so long as the employment doesn’t begin before the player finishes high school.  Therefore, schools can promise jobs and find jobs for players all day and all night.  Basketball and football players, we might add.

The only stipulations on employment are found in bylaw 15.2.6 which states:

1.  The student-athlete’s compensation does not include any renumeration for value or utility that the student-athlete may have for the employer because of the publicity, reputation, fame or personal following that he or she has obtained because of athletics ability;

2.  The student-athlete is compensated only for work actually performed; and

3.  The student-athlete is compensated at a rate commensurate with the going rate in that locality for similar services.

Other than that, it’s fair game for programs to help find athletes jobs.  Thus, promising a recruit a job is A-OK as well.

In summary: Promising a job to a recruit is fine.  Promising a job to a recruit’s hangers-on is a no-no in basketball and a maybe in football (depending on the interpretation of bylaw 13.2.1).

Now, this most recent dust-up began when April Justin — Collins’ mother — told the website that Bama had promised her son’s girlfriend a job.  But Justin is now backing away from the website’s claims.

“There’s accusations saying (the girlfriend is) going to hand feed Landon to Saban and that basically my son is following her daughter, which is a lie,” Collins told The Birmingham News late yesterday.  “Since his junior year, when we first visited, we fell in love with the (Alabama) campus.  Furthermore, there was an accusation saying she has a job for an internship.  It’s not a job.  It’s an intern in his office.”

And that’s why we said in our initial piece that there may or may not be any meat on the bones of’s accusations.  (Unfortunately, a few Bama fans took even the mere mention of this story — which everyone else mentioned to — to be a an outright attempt to harm their beloved football program.  It wasn’t.  And where have you people been when this writer has repeatedly called Saban the best coach in the country?  Reading only what you want to read and seeing only what you want to see, it appears.)

But for future reference:

* We’ll continue to work hard to avoid factual errors — typos and word-flips are going to happen.  When we do make mistakes we’ll correct them (and in this case, do more than just remove a line or two of text from the original story).

* We will continue to not give a hoot in hell whether your favorite SEC team wins or loses.  It’s business for those of us here at MrSEC and if you think you spot some pro-this-team or anti-that-team bias, it’s only evidence of your own bias.  We don’t care.

* We’ll also be waiting to see if the NCAA closes this loophole in its ongoing attempt to update its rulebook.  After all, it sure seems like it would be much simpler to just have all the rules involving employment match up from sport to sport.


Bubba Gump
Bubba Gump


I know you do not links, but if ever there were a link to use for this thread the Mike Leach "fat little girlfriends" video when he was a Texas Tech needs to find a home in the body of this post! I would link it, but it is easy to find on Google. It is still a classic.


Because nothing's simple. "Sorry, you're a woman - you can't be involved in recruiting." Yeah, that'll stand about 5 seconds in court.

I have two nieces and a nephew on scholarship at Alabama. All three also work for the university. None of them date an Alabama recruit, so it's not exactly headline news.

The NCAA rule was passed in response to baketball coaches hiring player's parebts as assistant coaches or athletic department staff for high-five figure positions. It was becoming commonplace. It had nothing to do with low-level, hourly rate jobs for undergraduates.

If a team can lure a girlfriend with a scholarship/job, and in turn that girlfriend can land a recruit, then, yes, that's a violation of the spirit of the rules - but that's a lot to assume about relationships with 18 year olds for university who implements that strategy, and it's a lot to assume about this situation for readers.

The only thing we know for sure right now is that Momma doesn't like Alabama and Momma does like being in the spotlight.

John is definitely not biased. A bit sensitive to criticism, perhaps, but definitely not biased.


Here is my deal. I am a Bama fan and alumnus. I, however, would turn the school in myself and seek the death penalty if I knew that sexual favors were being used to attract recruits. I have no direct knowledge of this happening, but when schools constantly use hostesses (in boy wonder's case sending them off campus) as recuriting assistants, you know that it happens. Maybe not here, maybe not there, but somewhere, certainly. It may not be overt or acknowledged, but you know that successful hostesses (ones who attract recruits) are rewarded and promoted. Why, why, why does the NCAA allow above-board use of coeds? How simple would it be to outlaw them? At least then if something were proven there would be enforceable penalties. I am not naive and I know that proof is difficult and that there are more ways to cheat than this, but at least the overt use of women could be illegal.


In the paragraph immediately preceding your bullet-point about the fact that the blog will continue to have typos, there is a typo. Peace should be piece.


Bias?? Bias?? There is no Bias in MRSEC!!!! I enjoy all of your articles guys (coverage across the board for all 12 - soon to be 14 teams). Now, why haven't you accepted my LinkedIN request?? haha


@DaveinExile I understand that this woman is after her fifteen minutes of fame and am certainly not impugning anyone in this situation or even at Alabama. I have friends who have been hostesses and have done nothing wrong, and there is no evidence of which I am aware that Landon Collins has, either. I also understand that women cannot be prevented from participating. However, hostesses at large could be made illegal so that no one could dictate what they wear and then parade them in front of recruits in large groups, etc. Regulate organizational behavior and structure, not the female sex.


@I4Bama I commend you for actually having integrity. I assure you vast majority of Bama fans are perfectly fine with that type of practice. Always blows my mind how people are willing to look past a transgression that they would not put up with if it were a friend that did the same thing. I love my school but when activities happen that happen that portray the school in a way that shows that we treating kids like commodities or placing the football program in a pedestal at the expense of jeopardizing the integrity of the school then the train is off the tracks. I love college football but a friend of mine says it's the devil's game. Bending the rules is one thing but when it comes to some of these transgressions it more of a violation of human decency that could impact the life of a kid that hasn't fully grown up and they're making life changing decisions.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator


See, I told you the typos would continue.




@I4Bama @Brazos - " I assure you vast majority of Bama fans are perfectly fine with that type of practice"

Oh please just shut up.

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