When the NCAA passed cost of attendance this past year, it signified a landmark moment in college athletics. But what was a victory for student-athletes is now becoming a control mechanism for college coaches.
Early this week, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster floated the idea of fining players out of their COA. After everyone picked their jaws up off the floor, VT athletic director Whit Babcock immediately responded, shutting down the idea.
However, VT was caught with their pants on fire as a TV screen not far from the room where Foster made his comments showed fines and what players had been fined when.
Head coach Frank Beamer said those fines weren't coming out of the player's COA and discontinued the system, even shutting down the practice of fining players out of their bowl allotment, which VT has done in the past. Bowl allotment fines were $100 for the first offense and up to $1,600 for the seventh offense before a player was banned from a bowl.
Yes, in a system where coaches make millions of dollars (Beamer makes $2.3 million per year and Foster makes 900k per year, one of the highest-paid assistant in college football), these coaches were perfectly okay with fining amateur athletes what amounts to pocket change to them for not having a computer charger in study hall. What a bunch of heroes.
However, if you thought the Virginia Tech story was the end of the coaches wanting to exert control over their team, it's not.
Tommy Tuberville, head coach at Cincinnati, is a fan of fining players as well.
Unlike Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock, who immediately shut down the idea, Cincy AD Mike Bohn is perfectly fine with Tuberville's Orwellian control tactics.
"It's not a fine. It's not a threat. It's a tool. We want to help our student-athletes and are committed to helping them."
Cincinnati players will make between $5,504 to $7,018 as part of the new cost-of-attendance stipend approved by the NCAA this past year. Cincy's numbers are one of the highest in all the NCAA.
And according to Cincy senior associate AD Maggie McKinley, it's all legal.
Cincinnati senior associate director of athletics Maggie McKinley, a voting member on NCAA regulation and overseer of the school's compliance office, said the language used in players' grant-in-aids expressly gives the school the ability to reduce or terminate the financial assistance if there are violations of department policy or student code of conduct policy.
If a player commits a violation of department policy of student code of conduct policy, they could get fined out of their stipend. So instead of yanking a scholarship away like any other sane coach would do for a code of conduct violation, they're just going to make it harder for student-athletes to compete on the team.
It's almost like they're treating these amateur athletes of this extra-curricular activity like employees?
And where would those fines go? Back into the general fund so Nancy the receptionist can get a nicer mouse pad? Or would it disappear into the ether, so no one benefits from it? Either way, fining players is a scummy and repulsive act from powerful people who wrongly think they're losing more and more power each year.
Meanwhile, Tuberville makes $2.2 million per season, more than 314 times the highest COA stipend one of his players could get.
Since Tubbs is all for fining his amateur athletes, here are some that Cincinnati could enact for all their employees.
-Saying you're going to leave your current job "in a pine box" then leave on a jet for a conference rival the very next week. $1,000,000 plus the cost of a hundred pine boxes.
-Escaping from a dinner with recruits to take another job. $1,500,00 plus the cost of a thousand all-you-can-eat dinners with recruits. Also of note, the Cincy AD who lured Tubberville away was Whit Babcock. Small world.
-Defrauding investors of a hedge fund worth $1.7 million? $1,700,001 or whatever the settlement was, whichever is greater.
-Committing NCAA Violations. $10,000 for each secondary violation. $1,000,000 plus another $1,000,000 for each year of probation for a major violation.
Maybe they could also add doing up-downs for showing up to a booster function hammered? Or the cost of dwindling ticket sales after getting fired for being an immoral asshole and thus forcing John L Smith on your program? Or leaving your alma-mater before coaching a single game because of the aforementioned immoral asshole?
But then again, if we start fining coaches, they might get all pissy and want to form a union to protect them against the NCAA? Wouldn't that be something?