Beyond Stupidity: The NCAA Says Its Coaches Can't Coach In The Olympics

By LetsRun.com
July 27, 2012

The NCAA has been known for over the years being incredibly stupid when it comes to interpreting/enforcing its rules. Common sense has often never applied - only what is written in the rule book.

Well the NCAA bean counters have hit an all-time low.

They have recently told collegiate track and field coaches that they can't coach their athletes in the biggest track meet in the world - the Olympics.

Yes that's right. The ultimate amateur athletic association in America doesn't want its coaches coaching in the biggest amateur sporting event in the world - the Olympics.

We know many of you may not believe us but it's true.

The NCAA is basically telling college coaches that unless they are an official coach listed by a national governing body that they can't go to London to coach athletes who still have eligibility.

The following email excerpt from the SEC's Gil Grimes explains the rules:

    I do believe 17.23.9.1.2.2 is the appropriate Bylaw in this situation – meaning the governing body has to select the coach. Bylaw 17.1.1.1 allows coaches to be involved in countable activities with their student-athletes outside the playing season – however that Bylaw ties into Bylaws 16.8.1.3 (a)&(b), and so taken together, those Bylaws only allow the coach to be involved in national championships or Olympic tryouts, not the Olympics themselves. So I don’t believe your coaches can work with their student-athletes at the Olympics unless they have been designated as an Olympic team coach by the national governing body.

Apparently, the SEC has gone to the NCAA to ask if their interpretation of the rules is correct and the NCAA has said - yes it is.

If you have time to look at the NCAA rule book, go ahead as we don't. Here is some more info on the various rules.

    16.8.1.3 allows the institution to pay for student athletes to attend their respective National Championships/Olympic Trials and for the coach to be present, but it seems it ends there.
    17.23.9.1.2.2 essentially says that a coach and athlete from the same institution can be part of a national team as long as the national governing body (NGB), selects the athletes.
    17.23.6.1.1 allows for practice in the summer with student athletes, but apparently not coaching at the greatest stage an athlete can achieve.

Apparently, the rule book only lets collegiate coaches coach up until the Olympic Trials - not the Olympics. Now, various conferences are apparently interpreting the rules differently. Some (maybe the Pac 12?) are saying that if a coach gets a credential of any kind - even if they aren't listed as the official coach - then they can coach, but others and the NCAA are apparently saying they are supposed to be an official coach listed as such by a national governing body.

We even heard unofficially from one envious coach that he'd heard the University of Texas is actually just going to have some common sense. They are going to let coach Mario Sategnahas coach former Longhorn Trey Hardee (totally allowed as Hardee is graduated) and current Longhorn Marquise Goodwin (not allowed as he's still in college) and just take the hit if the NCAA says anything about it.

In our mind, that's what everyone should do, but what would be great is if NCAA head Mark Emmert could take five minutes and issue a directive to tell people to ignore whatever rule(s) is holding the track coaches back.

If you are as outraged as we are, we suggest you contact the NCAA. If you don't want to take the time to politely let them know of your disappointment, at least send a tweet towards the NCAA: @NCAA  #NCAAcoach #London2012

Oh yeah, one more thing, we think this doesn't apply to just track and field but also swimming and wrestling.

Update at 12:08 pm ET: We've received an update from a collegiate coach who was trying to coach in the Olympics. He writes: "I am now told if a letter says you are working with the ngb that comes specifically from the ngb, that will suffice and that's how arizona is getting around it."

More: MB: Beyond Stupidity: The NCAA Says Its Coaches Can't Coach In The Olympics


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