When a coaching staff is trying to persuade a high school prospect to come to their school, they need to have a variety of selling points in order to reel them in. These points could be a variety of things, from a school’s prestigious history to their fan-base to the quality of food on their campus. A major selling point that is more evident for coaches on the Division I level is the high-quality of the school’s basketball arena.
In Connecticut, the Division I schools include UConn, Yale, Hartford, Sacred Heart, Fairfield, Quinnipiac, and Central Connecticut State. These school’s have obviously had varying levels of success and therefore the size and capacities of their stadiums are different. However, what many people don’t realize is the extensive positive effect that an attractive arena can have on a school’s basketball program. If you’re stadium looks as good as UConn’s Gampel Pavilion, recruits are going to be drawn in.
Yes, a program needs to be somewhat successful to be able to upgrade there stadium but the upgrade itself gives the school a whole new angle in the recruiting process. Some schools, like Quinnipiac, can use the school’s new attribute to take their program to the next level.
Not only is recruiting a crucial component of college coaching, but it is also a very dangerous and slippery slope. Coaches have to follow strict guidelines put forth by the NCAA. The problem is that coaches are also under enormous amounts of pressure to win games and build a program. They need to win games to keep their jobs and most programs put coaches on a very short leash. Usually, college coaches are given just a few years to prove themselves. It all depends on the school’s stage, bright lights, and prestigious history.
In recent years, some head coaches have showed blatant disregard for the NCAA’s rules. Coaches around the nation have been caught and punished for a variety of violations. These violations range from providing players with improper benefits to smaller things like contacting a player during a certain period. In 2010, Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl was suspended for the first eight SEC games because he lied to the NCAA about hosting a recruit in his home for a barbeque.
Just this past season, UConn head coach Jim Calhoun was forced to serve a three-game ban for violations that have taken place under his watch. After extensive investigations, the NCAA found that a former manager for the basketball team, considered a school representative, had illegal contact with a recruit for an extended period of time. It also came about that the UConn coaching staff had provided impermissible tickets to certain coaches and teachers directly involved with student-athletes. In the end, UConn lost scholarships for three years and faced other recruiting restrictions. Calhoun was not happy that he was suspended for three games but ultimately UConn was relieved that they didn’t receive a ban from postseason activity.
The worst punishment a school can receive is something called the “Death Penalty.” This means that a school, no matter what Division they are a part of, cannot compete in a certain sport for an entire year. It has only been implemented five times, including twice for basketball programs. If this trend of recruiting violations continues to increase, punishments may start to be become more severe.