"Recruiting is one of the big ills of football. Any coach will tell you that the toughest job he has is recruiting, making sure he gets the kids in. And there's plenty of pressure on the coach to recruit good men, take my word. I'm not talking about Iowa, now. But at most colleges the pressure is on the coach from the president on down. The coach enters into a tacit understanding with the president that he will recruit good ballplayers by any means short of larceny. And, if the coach doesn't come through with good recruits, out he goes.
"But what galls me the most—what makes me sick to my stomach—is when the coach gets caught in some aggressive recruiting practice and the college president throws his hands up in the air and says: 'My, my, I never dreamed that was going on here.' I tell you, that situation at Indiana [where Coach Phil Dickens last month got a year's suspension for violation of the Big Ten recruitment rule—ED.] just turned my stomach, the way that president turned on his coach. It's like spies—when they're caught, the mother country never heard of 'em. But the presidents are right in there pushing the rest of the time."
The discussion turned to the NCAA regulations. "The trouble there," said Evashevski, "is that some of them force an increasing reliance on extensive recruiting. Like the 20-day limitation on spring training. Here in Iowa we run into a lot of ballplayers who don't get much chance to play good, solid high school schedules. You expect a kid like that to develop a little later than the regular high school ballplayer. But we have only 20 days to develop a boy who's never played much. There's a good chance that we'll miss potential All-Americas because of the short period we can look 'em over. When you don't have a chance to work longer with the recruits in the spring, it puts a high premium on the blue-chip athlete. You've gotta go out and find the finished product. So by limiting the training period, the NCAA forces extensive recruiting on us."
Bed and board and $15
How about subsidization of football players? "I don't have any very definite ideas on that subject," Evashevski said. "But whatever the amount of subsidization, the same figures should be used all over. It's fine with me to subsidize ballplayers as long as you don't make professional athletes out of them. I don't think eating and sleeping make a pro out of a boy. In most schools eating and sleeping is about all you can give 'em, plus the $15 a month allowed by the NCAA. This seems all right to me. I don't think you should give a kid a ride to the point where he's going to get a lot of false values from playing football. The main thing is that it should be the same all over."
There was one more question before the visitor got up to go. Evashevski was once quoted as saying he would quit football if the Iowa fans soured on him. How did he feel about that now? What about his future?
"I don't expect to stay in football much longer," was his answer. "A couple more good seasons, and I'll have had it. I'm 39 now, and I hope I'm not in football after 45.1 think it's a young man's game. There's nothing more pathetic than seeing a coach hanging on when he's too old. I've seen some who get in a tight situation and start calling for kids who graduated two or three years before.
"I don't know what I'll do," he concluded. "Enter business, maybe. I can't retire. I haven't been in football for the money; there are quite a few more lucrative fields. But I've enjoyed what I've been doing. I have to admit it isn't as much fun as it was five or 10 years ago. And it'll never be as much fun as it was in my playing days. No, I guess I'd have to say that my enthusiasm is not as high. One thing I can promise you: I'll never be a Mr. Chips of football. There's nothing more pathetic."