"But some coaches think the opposite might result," I objected. " Johnny Majors says he'd never have turned Pitt around so quickly without bringing in 70 players that first year."
"Of course. Johnny was trying for a quick fall. But don't let him kid you. He'll win under any conditions, and he'll learn to live with these. In the end everybody will benefit. Volume recruiting perpetuates the caste system. A big-budget school with a big staff recruited year-round, hither and yon, nationwide. When pickings were good, they loaded up the freezer with prime meat. Their redshirts were better than most teams. It's natural that those who have had that kind of leverage would not want to lose it.
"I knew something significant was happening along those lines about mid-season last year when Barry Switzer of Oklahoma started complaining about the seven or eight boys who got away to Tulsa, helping that program off the ground. Barry said there wasn't a great team in the Big Eight because of the new rules. What old Barry meant was he no longer could be sure of beating Iowa State 45-0.
"Yet, I can sympathize with Switzer. The Oklahoma alumni are spoiled and can't understand it when he's not 11 and 0. But what's wrong with other schools filling their stadiums and going to bowl games?"
"What does all this have to do with cheating?"
"Nothing and everything. Do you want to get into that?"
"I don't understand all these loopholes you're talking about, or what the high schools and junior colleges have to do with it."
"Neither does the NCAA. Its committee on infractions would rather catch a boy with his hand in the till any day. Cars they understand. Cash money they understand. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that kind of cheating is on the way out. Too much heat from the enforcement agents, for one thing. But this other stuff is a cancer because it goes right to the heart of the educational process. And to the educators themselves."
"But how do high schools...?"
"It starts there, and if nothing else it's an indictment of the current state of public education in the country. High schools don't educate, they graduate. I was talking with one of the NCAA investigators the other day. He said it's a swampland. He said there is an all-too-familiar pattern. The requirement for a football scholarship is a 2.0—a C average through high school. A school finds out a college coach is interested in a boy. The boy reads at a fourth-grade level. The boy suddenly becomes an A student.