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Athletic directors cast doubt about recruiting deregulation

As Ray Glier expertly described in the New York Times, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity recently pulled a number of coaches into his office and asked, in light of the NCAA's recent recruiting deregulation, what they would like to change about recruiting now that the governor had been taken off the engine.

As Glier describes, their reaction was similiar to the kid from the movie Blank Check. For the guy sitting on the other end of the desk, it created an incredibly different reaction.

“It was an immediate red flag,” McGarity said. “We now have about 35 items on the list of what the coaches would love to do. Think about if we gave them a few months to come up with things.

“Some school is going to want to get on the high dive with this and go all in and spend and spend,” he continued. “It is going to start a round of competition among schools that is going to be limitless.”

The problem for McGarity and his peers around the country is that every school ultimately has a limit. Every pedal that is pushed to the floor on one line of the budget in the end robs another part of the financial ledger. At a school like Georgia, that may be the athletic department's surplus. At another school, it could be something more immediately consequential.

The Big Ten issued a statement last week (to much ridicule) against deregulation and, as John Infante points out, major conferences stepping out against the rule changes could be a bad thing for smaller conferences. The Boise States of the world win by spending smarter than their over-sized competition, and every dollar the large schools spend on a 400-page media guide is money they will spend elsewhere, like facilities and staff salaries, thus denying smaller schools a chance to make up their budgetary differences by spending smarter. 

In the end, Kansas State athletic director John Currie adds possibly the best piece of common sense of the entire consversation. 

“If we lose out on somebody because our media guide was only 200 pages and somebody else’s was 400 pages, then so be it," Currie said. "I don’t think every school is going to add 25 new quality control coaches and recruiting coaches, because adding 25 new personalities to your building is not necessarily going to make you better.”

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