"When they do, you extend them concentrically—look it up—until each school has the required number." The Coach drew contentedly on his cigar.
"Who draws the circles?"
"The NCAA, of course. It'll take some study, but it'll be worth it because it'll make it easier to catch the cheaters. The NCAA loves to bust the cheaters." He chuckled. "But I digress. Besides cutting recruiting costs by a staggering amount, what would this do?"
He was up, absently examining the shelves of my library and extracting a small book of Milton's poems, which he began leafing through as he talked. "For one, it would give the coach at Duke a word in edgewise with the kid in Asheville who can throw a football 50 yards through a doughnut, but who ordinarily would be entertaining Darrell Royal and Joe Paterno this weekend. With less pressure, that blue-chipper might wind up playing before the home folks and making Mama proud.
"The pressure on a kid today is unbelievable. Every coach I know, when he's had a couple, admits how hypocritical the system is. An ex-SMU star told a Texas paper about the money that flies around—if you can call under the table a flight. His advice to youth was, Take it and run.' A Pac-8 coach told me that when he was a high-schooler in Los Angeles he got so sick of seeing recruiters hanging around he would call home first to make sure the coast was clear. Elvis Peacock's folks had to change their phone number three or four times.
"Now that reflects on all of us. And it continues ad nauseam, because the NCAA doesn't make it tough enough on the crooks. If it was me, I'd ban the player and the coach for life! Put the fear of God in all of 'em! Throw the rascals out!"
He slammed Milton down on my desk top, causing the pencil jar to jump. He stood mute for a second.
"Sounds drastic," I said.
"Nothing is too good for the profession," sighed the Coach, and sat down again.
"But what if the boy in Asheville wants to go to Notre Dame, Coach? Or West Point? What if—"