Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated published a laugh-out-loud, seven-step how-to guide for coaches looking to sidestep NCAA regulations yesterday. (Note: He’s not actually serious. Well, not entirely serious, anyway. And Schooled in Sports in no way endorses coaches actually following these steps.)
The guide, which really could apply to coaches at all levels (including professional), revolves around one key principle: Always use cash. That simple rule accounts for three of the seven steps in the guide.
Others include: Never do anything in writing, always pay parties with information that could get your program into hot water, and taking a cue from “The Wire,” only use prepaid, disposable phones (paid for with cash!).
From Staples’ explanation of why the “never use cash” rule should be adhered to by cheating coaches at all times:
This should seem simple enough. Cash is mostly untraceable. As long as it isn't deposited in unusually large quantities into the account of a player or a player's parent, the NCAA will not find it. Paper trails lead to trouble. ... Don't use checks, wire transfers, gift certificates, or any other form of currency. Don't even make anonymous donations to a handler's 501(c)3 charitable foundation, even though I know you basketball cheaters do this all the time. Simply use some of that green paper with Ben Franklin's face on it, and the NCAA will be none the wiser...
Rest assured, Staples’ guide likely won’t see widespread adoption any time soon. Sports coaches may make a healthy salary, especially at the collegiate level, but it’s not like many coaches can walk around with tens of thousands of dollars in cash on a regular basis.
Ultimately, unless coaches are prepared to lead an underground, covered-up lifestyle more befitting a mobster than a sports coach, they’ll likely have to take the hard route and simply not cheat.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.