Is it legal / ethical for travel organizations to pay college coaches to come watch their games?  It seems like this would be some type of NCAA violation for coaches of the school taking money.  I know that many college coaches get paid to work camps, but this seems a lot different.  Does anyone have any insight on this?

Original Post

Question is more whether it is ethical for the coach to take this money as this might cause him to miss a better player in scouting due to watching the wrong game or in worst case even influence his recruiting decision.

When a coach misses a superior player because he misses a better game that doesn't pay him or even prefers an inferior athlete (consciously or subconsciously) from a travel team that pays him he is hurting his employer.

If he doesn't recruit the right players it will catch up with him eventually and he'll be getting paid to go to games in different colors. Ethical? Probably not, but if you're at a tournament and want a coach to come see a kid and offer to pay for gas and lunch or hotel if it's hours away then it's really not the end of the world. 

Either way coach is still going to recruit his guys. Not enough roster space for bottom end roster fillers. 

I don't know about how you are describing it but it happens every day.  An organization,normally very large, will put on a showcase and pay coaches to come recruit/coach during showcase.  The coaches will get paid per kid or a flat fee to help run a practice, do a showcase, or other things.  I've never heard of an organization paying a coach to come watch them at a game.  If that is happening, the organization is probably not very good and neither is the coach.  I know a lot of coaches make side money by doing the showcase stuff or camps or practices.

Hmmmm. Yeah.  Or here's some money to rent your field. Or here's some donation from our recent tourney using your fields. Or hey? Seems this is just small potatoes (well big potatoes in multiple small increments), but...........isn't some similar bribery in the news right now that certain celebrities and rich alumni are going to jail over?  Lori Loughlin much?

Yeah lets go there. It explains an lot of what I observe and how 85% of recruiting classes at certain colleges are coming from the same 2 or 3 organizations.

Very simple. Pave the path with a cash bribe.  Does it really matter if it comes direct from the parent or funneled thru some $5,000+ a season travel???? Its ust semantics at that point. A bribe is a bribe.

 

 

 

mburtner17 posted:

Is it legal / ethical for travel organizations to pay college coaches to come watch their games?  It seems like this would be some type of NCAA violation for coaches of the school taking money.  I know that many college coaches get paid to work camps, but this seems a lot different.  Does anyone have any insight on this?

Coaching is a full time job and part of that job includes recruiting on the road. 

I am not sure what particular division or conference you might be talking about but coaches get company credit cards for their expenses, gas, meals, hotels, car rental, leased car,  tolls, etc.  It's part of their benefit package.

If a full time college coach is accepting money from an organization to come watch players, that seems like a conflict of interest.  D1 coaches will send their volunteer or student assistants for  college camps, that's how they earn money. They are not allowed to recruit players. 

There are definetly instances where coaches recruit and offer players from certain organizations and there is nothing wrong with that, IMO.

Last edited by TPM
mburtner17 posted:

Is it legal / ethical for travel organizations to pay college coaches to come watch their games?  It seems like this would be some type of NCAA violation for coaches of the school taking money.  I know that many college coaches get paid to work camps, but this seems a lot different.  Does anyone have any insight on this?

Mburtner, you are going to have to give more detail for anyone to reply in a meaningful way.  What was the scenario?  Was the coach payed directly?  As Pitchingfan and TPM mention, it is standard operating procedure for it to happen via third party... Someone puts on a showcase, pays for schools to send representation, players/travel teams (depending on the format) choose to attend or not.  The volunteer coach representing the college is typically the one that is paid.  As is made common info here over and over, this is how volunteer coaches make some money to live on.  If you are a player and you really stand out, you will probably get noticed.  If not, it is buyer beware.  

As far as Showball$'s post, I'd say that comparison is quite a stretch and to be taken with a grain of salt.  It is FAR more likely that a particular strong program may go back to the well with two or three particular travel programs is because those programs are the strong ones with the best players in the region.  

I roomed with a guy who was a volunteer assistant at a D1 program, so I'm well aware that volunteer coaches get paid to work camps.  In this scenario the coaches are actually at the camp working.

The scenario that I'm talking about is a travel organization paying college coaches to attend a previously scheduled tournament to watch players from their organization (i.e. just watching them play games).  No third party involved.

This sparked my interest and I made a few phone calls.  It does happen more than I thought.  The top organizations are paying coaches to come watch particular games.  The regular stuff that I knew happened is still going on and coaches are paid to use their fields, to come to showcases, and to work camps.  But the new thing is for coaches to be paid to attend games that way the organization can guarantee players they will be seen by certain schools and it is also a draw for the teams they are playing.  One guy even told me he knew a HC had been paid to come watch an organization team play at a big event for all of their games.  They are also doing these tournaments now like showcases where the schools are paid to use their fields and the agreement is that the school will provide a coach and 4/5 other coaches from other schools at all games.  The schools pay the other coaches out of their (rental fee) so the organization somewhat stays clean.

I asked the question do you think it is a conflict of interest and every coach said no because they are still going to recruit the best guys they can.  It just helps get the guys seen.  Some organizations are doing it instead of paying the big entry fees for some tournaments.  They are guaranteeing their guys get seen by the level of schools they think their guys are more suited for.  This does make sense.  Pay $2500 to go to WWBA and have nobody see your games or pay 10 coaches $200  to come watch your kids play a scrimmage against another team of even level.  We say it all the time, if you are not the big dogs the big tournaments are a waste of time.  I'm second guessing my original thought on this procedure.  It is guaranteeing your players playing time in front of coaches that need to see them.  That is what showcase ball is about. 

If money is changing hands (and it is) at any part of the recruiting process between the parties involved and the parties making the final decision......then it very simply can, will, and does affect the final decisions being made. It can and will distort the recruiting process into a pay to play situation for all but the top level players.

It creates a gate keeper situation. The gate to be seen is blocked by:

1.) Your ability to pay the travel org.

2.) The $ bribed by the travel org keeps the coaches attention focused to where they are being paid to watch. Can't be in 2 spots at once. If you go predominantly only where paid, you're just taking a recruiting bribe.

3.) All things equal between a certain group of players. Each throw 86 so are late recruits, same size, similar results. You've done your job and seen all 3, but spent more time at XYZ because they paid you. The $ involved taint the decision making process. Just as they were intended to do. Pave the path.

It all combined creates a highly unethical situation. No way around it.

Very simple.

 

 

 

 

 

Last edited by Showball$

So what is the difference between them being paid to go to a showcase for the kids who can afford it than them being paid to watch a team play?

I really was surprised that it happens as much as it does and it is coming more and more.  I heard that several large organizations are going to do some private tournaments next year of top organizations playing only each other in various age groups.  That should draw some attention.

This was bound to happen at some point. PG Tournaments that used to be selective have been letting in substandard teams for years. The talent level has gotten very watered down. Top level travel teams gain nothing from going to a big name tourney to matchup with a team that has no business being on the field with them. It doesn’t do coaches any good to scout that kind of game either. The tournament organizer is the only one that benefits. Sounds like some top travel orgs have found a Perfect solution to that problem. 

What about travel organizations holding private showcases for their players?  I never thought to wonder whether they were paying the coaches to be there.  

anotherparent posted:

What about travel organizations holding private showcases for their players?  I never thought to wonder whether they were paying the coaches to be there.  

They are 

Showball$ posted:

If money is changing hands (and it is) at any part of the recruiting process between the parties involved and the parties making the final decision......then it very simply can, will, and does affect the final decisions being made. It can and will distort the recruiting process into a pay to play situation for all but the top level players.

It creates a gate keeper situation. The gate to be seen is blocked by:

1.) Your ability to pay the travel org.

2.) The $ bribed by the travel org keeps the coaches attention focused to where they are being paid to watch. Can't be in 2 spots at once. If you go predominantly only where paid, you're just taking a recruiting bribe.

3.) All things equal between a certain group of players. Each throw 86 so are late recruits, same size, similar results. You've done your job and seen all 3, but spent more time at XYZ because they paid you. The $ involved taint the decision making process. Just as they were intended to do. Pave the path.

It all combined creates a highly unethical situation. No way around it.

Very simple.

 

 

 

 

 

You are 100% correct and unless the word camp or showcase is used to describe the event or the coach is asked to be a guest speaker, it's not allowed.

Last edited by TPM

All of what Prepster said is true. But I believe  it’s also true that some travel orgs are compensating certain select RCs (one way or another) to pay more attention to kids in their org. The result of this is more an unjustice to the SCHOOL as opposed to players that aren’t recruited by that school IMO. But these are the things that occur when the equation of supply and demand are out of balance. 

TPM posted:
Showball$ posted:

If money is changing hands (and it is) at any part of the recruiting process between the parties involved and the parties making the final decision......then it very simply can, will, and does affect the final decisions being made. It can and will distort the recruiting process into a pay to play situation for all but the top level players.

It creates a gate keeper situation. The gate to be seen is blocked by:

1.) Your ability to pay the travel org.

2.) The $ bribed by the travel org keeps the coaches attention focused to where they are being paid to watch. Can't be in 2 spots at once. If you go predominantly only where paid, you're just taking a recruiting bribe.

3.) All things equal between a certain group of players. Each throw 86 so are late recruits, same size, similar results. You've done your job and seen all 3, but spent more time at XYZ because they paid you. The $ involved taint the decision making process. Just as they were intended to do. Pave the path.

It all combined creates a highly unethical situation. No way around it.

Very simple.

 

 

 

 

 

You are 100% correct and unless the word camp or showcase is used to describe the event or the coach is asked to be a guest speaker, it's not allowed.

So you are saying the NCAA rules it illegal unless camp or showcase is used or coach is speaking?  That is interesting that they would have that specifically but that is handled easily by paying a coach to attend the XXX showcase tournament between organization A and B. 

I don't see that having a large amount of players from the Canes Organization(just an example) would be a bad thing for anyone.  I don't see how it hurts the program or school or recruiting as a whole since they are one of the top organizations in the nation.  I think any college in any P5 would be glad to take the entire Canes National team as their recruiting class for any year and don't see how that hurts the whole ecosystem other than a kid who wants to go to that school who doesn't play for Canes but that is life.  Life is not fair. 

PitchingFan posted:

So you are saying the NCAA rules it illegal unless camp or showcase is used or coach is speaking?  That is interesting that they would have that specifically but that is handled easily by paying a coach to attend the XXX showcase tournament between organization A and B. 

 

I don't know the NCAA rule.   Maybe you can call them for clarification. I do believe using the incorrect language can change the legality.

I am not sure what having multiple players from an organization has to do with it. Thats fine, that's been around forever.  Coaches helping to evaluate in showcases on campus getting paid from the event organizer ( not the school) is fine as well.

You stated top organizations are paying coaches to go to particular games. My understanding from what you said, why pay 2500 to attend a high profile showcase when you can pay 10 guys 200. Would this be for a showcase, camp, scrimmage, tournament?

But I do agree with Showball$. Paying a coach to come watch a player or players in certain situations, sets up an unethical situation.

 

 

Last edited by TPM

Pitchingfan,

Just for clarification, my understanding of the situation. 

A D1, D2 college coach  or assistant can get paid for the following: camps, showcases, tournaments on college a campus.

Attend a specific game or scrimmage to watch a specific player or group of players, technically no.

I can't speak for D3, JUCO, NAIA coaches.

 

 

I'm really not trying to argue just trying to figure this out in my mind to see where I stand on it.  On the one organization thing, Showball said "

2.) The $ bribed by the travel org keeps the coaches attention focused to where they are being paid to watch. Can't be in 2 spots at once. If you go predominantly only where paid, you're just taking a recruiting bribe.

3.) All things equal between a certain group of players. Each throw 86 so are late recruits, same size, similar results. You've done your job and seen all 3, but spent more time at XYZ because they paid you. The $ involved taint the decision making process. Just as they were intended to do. Pave the path.

It all combined creates a highly unethical situation. No way around it."

which i interpret to mean that it is an undue advantage somehow or wrong or unethical.  I'm not sure (still trying to figure it out) if I agree with that mindset.  An organization has an obligation to get their guys seen by the most coaches at the highest level and recruited.  paying them to be at events guarantees them to be seen.  I can see if you are paying the coach to take them but you are just guaranteeing them to be seen which is why teams go to PG events, especially the big ones now.  It just narrows the field down of coaches being seen.  Someone stated that it was wrong for the top organizations with money to be able to pay coaches to recruit their players and I don't see it that way.  They are just using their money to guarantee that a certain level of coach (fishing in the right pond) sees their kids play.  I think that could be mid major D1, P5, juco or D3 coaches according to your specific team makeup.  I have always said it is stupid for certain lower level teams to go to WWBA and pay $3500 to play when they could use that same money to guarantee they are seen by the coaches that fit their program.  Why not pay a few D3 or juco coaches to come watch your team play another team of the same level rather than go to WWBA where it is a shot in the dark.  JMO.  As I said, still trying to figure out where I stand on this.

PitchingFan posted:

This sparked my interest and I made a few phone calls.  It does happen more than I thought.  The top organizations are paying coaches to come watch particular games.  The regular stuff that I knew happened is still going on and coaches are paid to use their fields, to come to showcases, and to work camps.  But the new thing is for coaches to be paid to attend games that way the organization can guarantee players they will be seen by certain schools and it is also a draw for the teams they are playing.  One guy even told me he knew a HC had been paid to come watch an organization team play at a big event for all of their games.  They are also doing these tournaments now like showcases where the schools are paid to use their fields and the agreement is that the school will provide a coach and 4/5 other coaches from other schools at all games.  The schools pay the other coaches out of their (rental fee) so the organization somewhat stays clean.

If this is happening, and I have no reason to doubt you, it makes paying for kids to play on second and third tier travel teams an even bigger waste of money than it already was.  Only the biggest (i.e. costliest) programs are gonna be able to afford to do this.  And when they do, that lessens the chances of kids on 2d/3d tier teams being seen.

I am curious to know whether organizations like PG sanction (at least tacitly) this kind of stuff.  Tournament promoters sell kids/parents the dream of being seen and recruited.  The kids/parents ought to already know that the deck is already stacked in favor of better teams/players.  Not criticizing anyone for this.  It's just a fact of life.  But, beyond this, people assume that they are getting a level playing field compared to other similar teams.  If there's a lot of pay-to-watch stuff going on, that may not be the case.  

PitchingFan posted:

I'm really not trying to argue just trying to figure this out in my mind to see where I stand on it.  On the one organization thing, Showball said "

2.) The $ bribed by the travel org keeps the coaches attention focused to where they are being paid to watch. Can't be in 2 spots at once. If you go predominantly only where paid, you're just taking a recruiting bribe.

3.) All things equal between a certain group of players. Each throw 86 so are late recruits, same size, similar results. You've done your job and seen all 3, but spent more time at XYZ because they paid you. The $ involved taint the decision making process. Just as they were intended to do. Pave the path.

It all combined creates a highly unethical situation. No way around it."

which i interpret to mean that it is an undue advantage somehow or wrong or unethical.  I'm not sure (still trying to figure it out) if I agree with that mindset.  An organization has an obligation to get their guys seen by the most coaches at the highest level and recruited.  paying them to be at events guarantees them to be seen.  I can see if you are paying the coach to take them but you are just guaranteeing them to be seen which is why teams go to PG events, especially the big ones now.  It just narrows the field down of coaches being seen.  Someone stated that it was wrong for the top organizations with money to be able to pay coaches to recruit their players and I don't see it that way.  They are just using their money to guarantee that a certain level of coach (fishing in the right pond) sees their kids play.  I think that could be mid major D1, P5, juco or D3 coaches according to your specific team makeup.  I have always said it is stupid for certain lower level teams to go to WWBA and pay $3500 to play when they could use that same money to guarantee they are seen by the coaches that fit their program.  Why not pay a few D3 or juco coaches to come watch your team play another team of the same level rather than go to WWBA where it is a shot in the dark.  JMO.  As I said, still trying to figure out where I stand on this.

Ask The Lord 

Lets see where (or if) any proponet of paying to be seen will draw a line.

#1 A dad coached team - where dad had been a pro player - pays a coach $1,000 to watch his team (with his son on the team) workout.

#2 A dad - where dad had not been a pro player - pays a coach $1,000 to come to watch his kid pitch in a tournament game.

#3 A dad - who is rich - pays a coach $50,000 to give his kid an offer (but only after seeing the kid pitch). The kid has the same velo as other recruited pitchers. 

#4 A mom - who is rich - gives a program $100,000 to give her kid a walk-on spot. (The team never carries 35, so no-one is cut to make room.) Kid was a decent HS player.

(Am I getting closer to the Varsity Blues story? There is no argument to be made that a coach can equally serve both employers.)

A coach who takes money for a private event is, by definition, not scouting other players not at the private event. Moreover, I am assuming the money paid was disclosed and approved in advance by the compliance office; if not approved, the coach is serving two masters and has a clear conflict of interest.

There is a clear difference between a travel ball organization, which exists to coach and give players exposure, and  a PG organization which exists to provide venues to players to strut their stuff.

The problem of gatekeepers has long existed and experienced a hiccup with the development of club baseball and organizations like Perfect Game and PBR. Sounds like they figured a way around that and the allure of those tournaments may not be what they once were now? But as others have stated, the largest tournaments of the summer are seeing far too many teams competing who simply don’t have players of high enough caliber to play college baseball. These organizations exist because money talks, and the adage “a fool and their money are soon parted” is applicable here. If a travel team is considered a top national team, let’s say there are 30-50 that really fit this definition, the guys on the “A” team are not paying to play on the team. The B and C team players are funding their way. If the organization is not making an effort to get those B and C guys looks, they are kind of on their own.

adbono posted:
PitchingFan posted:

I'm really not trying to argue just trying to figure this out in my mind to see where I stand on it.  On the one organization thing, Showball said "

2.) The $ bribed by the travel org keeps the coaches attention focused to where they are being paid to watch. Can't be in 2 spots at once. If you go predominantly only where paid, you're just taking a recruiting bribe.

3.) All things equal between a certain group of players. Each throw 86 so are late recruits, same size, similar results. You've done your job and seen all 3, but spent more time at XYZ because they paid you. The $ involved taint the decision making process. Just as they were intended to do. Pave the path.

It all combined creates a highly unethical situation. No way around it."

which i interpret to mean that it is an undue advantage somehow or wrong or unethical.  I'm not sure (still trying to figure it out) if I agree with that mindset.  An organization has an obligation to get their guys seen by the most coaches at the highest level and recruited.  paying them to be at events guarantees them to be seen.  I can see if you are paying the coach to take them but you are just guaranteeing them to be seen which is why teams go to PG events, especially the big ones now.  It just narrows the field down of coaches being seen.  Someone stated that it was wrong for the top organizations with money to be able to pay coaches to recruit their players and I don't see it that way.  They are just using their money to guarantee that a certain level of coach (fishing in the right pond) sees their kids play.  I think that could be mid major D1, P5, juco or D3 coaches according to your specific team makeup.  I have always said it is stupid for certain lower level teams to go to WWBA and pay $3500 to play when they could use that same money to guarantee they are seen by the coaches that fit their program.  Why not pay a few D3 or juco coaches to come watch your team play another team of the same level rather than go to WWBA where it is a shot in the dark.  JMO.  As I said, still trying to figure out where I stand on this.

Ask The Lord 

I have.  Waiting on the bush to catch on fire. 

I think the premise of it sounds bad but it is no different than what is already going on just a matter of not having the middle man.  Organization x puts on a tournament at School A under the name of Ballistic Baseball.  They pay School A for use of the field and have added money in to guarantee that a coach is at every game.  This has been going on for years.  If you don't believe it go back and look at what tournament organizers are actually owned by the same guys who own organizations just under a different name.  So if this is not wrong what is wrong with doing away with the deception and just saying the organization is paying coach A and a few others to come watch a tournament made up of organization X and a few other top level teams.  The same premise just without the deception and better than paying PG or PBR to host it and hope coaches see you play. 

I will agree with not paying coach directly to recruit your kids but just to provide the opportunity to recruit your kids. 

MTH posted:
PitchingFan posted:

This sparked my interest and I made a few phone calls.  It does happen more than I thought.  The top organizations are paying coaches to come watch particular games.  The regular stuff that I knew happened is still going on and coaches are paid to use their fields, to come to showcases, and to work camps.  But the new thing is for coaches to be paid to attend games that way the organization can guarantee players they will be seen by certain schools and it is also a draw for the teams they are playing.  One guy even told me he knew a HC had been paid to come watch an organization team play at a big event for all of their games.  They are also doing these tournaments now like showcases where the schools are paid to use their fields and the agreement is that the school will provide a coach and 4/5 other coaches from other schools at all games.  The schools pay the other coaches out of their (rental fee) so the organization somewhat stays clean.

If this is happening, and I have no reason to doubt you, it makes paying for kids to play on second and third tier travel teams an even bigger waste of money than it already was.  Only the biggest (i.e. costliest) programs are gonna be able to afford to do this.  And when they do, that lessens the chances of kids on 2d/3d tier teams being seen.

I am curious to know whether organizations like PG sanction (at least tacitly) this kind of stuff.  Tournament promoters sell kids/parents the dream of being seen and recruited.  The kids/parents ought to already know that the deck is already stacked in favor of better teams/players.  Not criticizing anyone for this.  It's just a fact of life.  But, beyond this, people assume that they are getting a level playing field compared to other similar teams.  If there's a lot of pay-to-watch stuff going on, that may not be the case.  

1.  Often times the top level teams are free, or nearly free to play. 
2.  Also, if you are part of a top flight team, it would not be necessary to     pay any college coach or pro scout to watch.   Choosing the right players is how they stay employed and get promoted. 

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