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Are Regional Training Centers an unfair advantage?

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22 minutes ago, ugarte said:

if hiring dads as coaches to recruit the kids is wrong you probably think college basketball is corrupt too

Damn right I do. Find me 10 knowledgeable people who don’t think college basketball is extremely corrupt.

And the NCAA has been implementing new rules to targeted specifically at this kind of thing. It recently passed a rule effectively preventing anybody deemed close with a recruit from being hired by the school he or she signs with for 2 years. More aimed to stop colleges from hiring football recruits HS coaches than wrestlers dads but same principal.

Edited by MDogg

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57 minutes ago, ugarte said:

if hiring dads as coaches to recruit the kids is wrong you probably think college basketball is corrupt too

I would be fine with the rules changing so that college basketball players can get paid, but so long as it is against the rules only the shady agents and coaches will do it and ultimately the athletes will be the ones who get taken.  In wrestling there won't be the same exploitation of the athlete as seen in basketball, because there isn't the same money as in basketball.  You will always have coaches and programs that follow the rules complain about a system that allows other programs to skirt them.

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5 hours ago, TBar1977 said:

And this will accomplish nothing except making training harder.  

FRL talked about a proposal to ban college or h.s. athletes from training with Sr. level athletes. If you went the club route I'm not sure that is even legal. 

Listen to the interview with Tom Ryan discussing this very topic and what was proposed by John Smith.  Something is going to happen in the near future because the NCAA wants to get control of the situation.  The discussion is revolving around sports clubs that are off campus and monitored by the NCAA.

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From Track Wrestling:

 

Cody Bickley was running through one draft of revised Regional Training Center guidelines last weekend when USA Wrestling’s national teams high performance manager came to a section that might have seemed like a head-scratcher to those who follow college athletics. 

A bullet point in Bickley’s presentation at the National Wrestling Coaches Association annual convention stated this: College-age student-athletes may not be paid for being in the RTC. 

Just like your school’s star quarterback shouldn’t be wheeling around campus in a booster-bought SUV and it’s illegal when your alma mater is dishing out five-figure payments to that power forward recruit, it’s an NCAA violation, too, when college wrestling programs funnel cash to athletes through their RTC. 

Seems obvious, right? 

Maybe not. 

“We have to say, ‘You can’t be paying people, man,’” Virginia coach Steve Garland said. “The way it is now and the way the RTC system is set, essentially it’s a loophole with the NCAA. The NCAA doesn’t want to deal with it, so you can just do whatever you want and say, ‘RTC. It’s RTC. Do whatever you want, RTC.’ 

“I think it’s a problem, right? I feel like I do everything I can to do the right things and try to stay within the framework of the rules in my sport and I’m still tempted. I’m human. Well, they say we can do it, let’s do it. I don’t think anybody should be in that situation. Let’s create some legislation that actually says, no, you can’t do that.” 

USA Wrestling’s website lists 53 RTCs across the country, many of which were launched in the past decade. They were originally designed to help support post-graduates in their quest to win World and Olympic medals, but some argue that they’re being used now in some places as more of a recruiting tool and a way to circumvent the NCAA rules.  

“I want rules to be followed,” Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said. “I think we all want that. I want the growth of USA Wrestling. I want the young person who’s psychotically in love with the sport, who wants to be great, to have the opportunity to be great. I also want there to be a level playing field somewhat in the college realm.”

RTC reform was a hot-button issue at the 2018 NWCA convention and it bubbled up again last weekend in Fort Lauderdale. Bickley’s presentation had to be moved at the last minute to a bigger meeting room to accommodate a spillover crowd trying to sort through the polarizing subject. 

On one hand, Regional Training Centers have played a role in USA Wrestling’s recent medal boom on the world stage. More money than ever before is being pumped into the sport to help fuel the RTC arms race and support Olympic dreams, and the training centers have contributed to a flood of young talents who have stepped onto college campuses equipped to win national titles as freshmen. 

“I don’t think you can point a finger at anything but the RTCs,” Cornell coach Rob Koll said.

On the other hand, though, there’s a faction of college coaches who describe the current system like it’s a lawless town in an old John Wayne flick. 

“Right now these RTCs are out of control,” Wisconsin coach Chris Bono said. “It’s the wild, wild west.”

Said Iowa State coach Kevin Dresser: “To be quite honest, there isn’t a rulebook. Anytime there’s no rules in place, things can get out of hand and I think that’s what’s happened.”

Added Garland: “This is human nature — we have something good, we take it, we see how we can use it for our own good, we manipulate it, we twist it, we abuse it and now we’re over here. Now we’re outside the lines and think bad things are happening.”

Garland and other coaches mentioned the murmurs of student-athletes being paid through RTCs. There was plenty of debate about the validity of RTC positions being filled by parents of prominent recruits. 

“There’s all these different things that happen that that’s not what the intent of the model was for,” Garland said. “The abuse problem, that’s where we get upset and we want everybody to be on an even playing field. That just makes sense in anything. You want to have some sort of ethical foundation. That’s why we’re bringing it back to saying, ‘Well, what can we do? Should we change the model? Should we do away with it completely? Should we go back to the old local sports club days? Let’s look at this because it has spiraled a little bit out of control.’ There’s tons of positives, too, that people aren’t talking about. It’s going to be interesting to see where it goes.” 

The playing field has never truly been level in college wrestling — at least not recently and not at the top. Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Penn State have combined to win the last 31 NCAA titles. It’s mostly been a haves versus haves championship battle for the last half century or so. 

Koll said he fears over legislation of RTCs could “create a bigger imbalance than they could possibly have with the current situation.” 

“I don’t think it’s as broken as people think it is,” he said. “I think we’re getting great results. They complain that teams are dominant. Well, guess what? Iowa was just as dominant without the RTCs — more dominant than Penn State has ever been — and it’s always been the same cast of characters. The teams that have RTCs have not dropped wrestling programs. Instead, they’ve been growing. 

“At the same time I’m saying that, it’s the bane of my existence because I have to raise an inordinate amount of money (for) resources to support our RTC. But I’m OK with it.” 

There’s a groundswell of support, however, from coaches in favor of moving away from RTCs and going back to the local sports club model. Some of the momentum stems from comments made Friday by Oklahoma State coach John Smith during Bickley’s presentation. His message appealed to a group of coaches who would gladly trade in a smaller geographical reach in exchange for more NCAA oversight. 

As it currently stands, prep athletes who meet RTC standards and reside within a 250-mile radius of an RTC are allowed to train with that club. That area would shrink to a 50-mile radius with a local sports club. 

“(Smith) didn’t say much, but his sentence rocked me more than anything here and made me question some things and look at some things in another way,” Ryan said. “If we can still raise funds for elite athletes to stay in the sport, if college coaches can still interact with their elite athletes, then we’re just not losing much.

“I called my compliance and she said, ‘You don’t really lose much by doing that model, and what you gain is oversight. I think everyone here — of the 78 coaches — the oversight is the concern more than anything.” 

Dresser said he doesn’t see a big gap between the local sports club rules and the guidelines USA Wrestling put on the table. 

“I think if USA Wrestling looks at it hard, I think they’re going to find out this might be an easier road for them, too,” he said. “If USA Wrestling has to get into the compliance business, one, they’re not set up to get into the compliance business. And two, their phone is going to ring off the wall. It’s going to be out of control. And they’re the first to admit they’re not a compliance organization. The NCAA’s a compliance organization. 

“I think the vast majority of college coaches want a compliance factor to this. They want to be able to know that there’s rules out there and the rules are being enforced. Right now we have no enforcement. There’s a document out there and if you don’t follow the document that’s on USA Wrestling’s website there’s no ramifications. It’s kind of like putting a speed sign up that says the speed limit is 65, but everyone’s driving 120 because you don’t get pulled over.”

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6 hours ago, Fishbane said:

Yes, of course the programs with the most resources and success have an advantage but at least in football, basketball and gymnastics at least those schools don't control the funding for competition at the next level of competition too.  Brian Smith is right that running an RTC is a lot of work.  Imagine if Urban Meyer not only had to coach the Buckeyes, but also had to operate the Cleveland Browns so that he could attract the best recruits and then have a place for them to train after they graduate.  If it gets to the point where to run a wrestling program at a top University requires you have to have an RTC, a program that ostensibly has nothing to do with the university, are these two programs not too intermingled?  

Supposing Sanderson retires and Penn State begins to look for a new head coach.  Will they not also in effect be looking for the next coach/administrator of the NLWC?  Will prospective coaches be asked about it?  The NLWC has assets of over $5 million.  

First I think your comparison with Urbie is not exactly equal. If you don’t think Urbie’s workload and Cael’s workload are/were comparable, I don’t know what to say. Their areas of focus are just different. 

Second, not all RTC’s have the college head coach as the head administrator/coach. I honestly don’t know what Sandersons exact title is but I know there are many RTC heads who are not the head coach for the university. So to answer your last question, who knows? That’s going to be based on a number of circumstances at the time. 

At the end of the day the details may be different but the story will be the same. The schools with the most resources to bring in the best staffs, facilities, and overall situations are going to get the recruits and therefore be at the top. Regardless of the sport. And why not?  If those resources were just handed to this group by the NCAA, but not that group....that would be an unfair advantage. But that’s not the case. Those resources have been developed from within, whether it be by tradition or fundraising or marketing or whatever. (See Chris Bono). Those schools haven’t been given their advantages, they created them. Legally and in spirit of competition. Why should those advantages be mitigated?  

Edited by Lurker

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4 minutes ago, Lurker said:

First I think your comparison with Urbie is not exactly equal. If you don’t think Urbie’s workload and Cael’s workload are/were comparable, I don’t know what to say. Their areas of focus are just different. 

Second, not all RTC’s have the college head coach as the head administrator/coach. I honestly don’t know what Sandersons exact title is but I know there are many RTC heads who are not the head coach for the university. So to answer your last question, who knows? That’s going to be based on a number of circumstances at the time. 

At the end of the day the details may be different but the story will be the same. The schools with the most resources to bring in the best staffs, facilities, and overall situations are going to get the recruits and therefore be at the top. Regardless of the sport. And why not?  If those resources were just handed to this group by the NCAA, but not that group....that would be an unfair advantage. But that’s not the case. Those resources have been developed from within, whether it be by tradition or fundraising or marketing or whatever. (See Chris Bono). Those schools haven’t been given their advantages, they created them. Legally and in spirit of competition. Why should those advantages be mitigated?  

Tom Ryan is not the head coach at the Ohio RTC (Dlagnev).  I am not sure who if anyone has the title of head coach at the NLWC.  I don't know that it matters.  These programs are so successful with fundraising because of their close association with university program.  They practice in the same room as the university and all university coaches are on the RTC staff.  Penn State boosters and alumni give the NLWC money because they think it will help the PSU program and it most likely does...  If they didn't then the coaches wouldn't waste their time with them.  Ditto with Ohio State and the Ohio RTC.  If the head coach at the university didn't endorse them it would severely hinder their ability to fund raise. 

When a college basketball/football program has the most money that means the best coaches, AD, facilities, equipment, training staff, support staff, and national exposure for the athlete among other things yet they still can't pay the athlete nor do they control the $$ they make at the next level.  There are only so many things you can spend money on and some athletic departments even resort to dumping it back into the education side of the university to spend it all. The resident athlete programs at places like the Ohio RTC, NLWC, Finger Lakes RTC and the like represent the best earning/training opportunities post college for wrestlers.  I am sure there is huge correlation between being a resident athlete at any of these facilities and having wrestled at the university.   It is most definitely an advantage for a university to control the best earning training opportunities at the next level.  It is also counter to the amateurism of the NCAA.  The NCAA has some rules to prevent a competitive advantage.  You can only have 3 paid assistants, you only get 9.9 scholarships, you can't financially support your redshirt competition.  You can do all the fundraising in the world, but there is some natural cap in what you can spend because of these limits there isn't a limit on what the RTC can spend.  They may not be able to pay athletes whilst in college, but there many willing to pay them after and some that will hire their parents instead.

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6 hours ago, AnklePicker said:

Yup and without any additional pay. Seriously how is this fair to the coaches?They can’t get additional compensation because it’s not affiliated with their school.  

Also let’s be careful giving the RTCs so much credit for our freestyle development. Honestly the internet and sites like YouTube and flo have probably played a greater roll. Our cadet team just got whooped. Should we blame the RTCs?  

Can the RTC not pay them as coaches?  Anyway I am sure there are some universities who would want the coaches fully focused on the success of the college students both academically and athletically and not worrying about running a successful RTC and fundraising so that their alumni can get paid/have their training expenses taken care of through the next Olympic cycle. 

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6 minutes ago, Fishbane said:

Tom Ryan is not the head coach at the Ohio RTC (Dlagnev).  I am not sure who if anyone has the title of head coach at the NLWC.  I don't know that it matters.  These programs are so successful with fundraising because of their close association with university program.  They practice in the same room as the university and all university coaches are on the RTC staff.  Penn State boosters and alumni give the NLWC money because they think it will help the PSU program and it most likely does...  If they didn't then the coaches wouldn't waste their time with them.  Ditto with Ohio State and the Ohio RTC.  If the head coach at the university didn't endorse them it would severely hinder their ability to fund raise. 

When a college basketball/football program has the most money that means the best coaches, AD, facilities, equipment, training staff, support staff, and national exposure for the athlete among other things yet they still can't pay the athlete nor do they control the $$ they make at the next level.  There are only so many things you can spend money on and some athletic departments even resort to dumping it back into the education side of the university to spend it all. The resident athlete programs at places like the Ohio RTC, NLWC, Finger Lakes RTC and the like represent the best earning/training opportunities post college for wrestlers.  I am sure there is huge correlation between being a resident athlete at any of these facilities and having wrestled at the university.   It is most definitely an advantage for a university to control the best earning training opportunities at the next level.  It is also counter to the amateurism of the NCAA.  The NCAA has some rules to prevent a competitive advantage.  You can only have 3 paid assistants, you only get 9.9 scholarships, you can't financially support your redshirt competition.  You can do all the fundraising in the world, but there is some natural cap in what you can spend because of these limits there isn't a limit on what the RTC can spend.  They may not be able to pay athletes whilst in college, but there many willing to pay them after and some that will hire their parents instead.

I’m not disagreeing with any of they and in that it is an advantage. But again it is an advantage those programs have developed, not just been handed over, chosen over other programs. 

I see what you are saying. Are you saying you would rather see the elimination of this system, and the detriment it will have to our senior level athletes being able to train and compete for a living, which will be detrimental to our senior level competitiveness...in favor of the sake of a balance parity that doesn’t and won’t exist anyway?  

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18 hours ago, Lurker said:

I’m not disagreeing with any of they and in that it is an advantage. But again it is an advantage those programs have developed, not just been handed over, chosen over other programs. 

I see what you are saying. Are you saying you would rather see the elimination of this system, and the detriment it will have to our senior level athletes being able to train and compete for a living, which will be detrimental to our senior level competitiveness...in favor of the sake of a balance parity that doesn’t and won’t exist anyway?  

This has absolutely nothing to do with parity. Nobody is implying they want parity. What they do want is an even playing field from which to play. I understand that any team CAN start a high level RTC but the fact of the matter is there just aren’t that many senior level guys wanting to train so if every school has one then three quarters of them wouldn’t have any athletes. Guys want to train with other high level guys so now the pool is even smaller. So at the end of the day it’s really not a level playing field and it creates gross inequities that have finally come to a boiling point. 

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3 minutes ago, AnklePicker said:

This has absolutely nothing to do with parity. Nobody is implying they want parity. What they do want is an even playing field from which to play. I understand that any team CAN start a high level RTC but the fact of the matter is there just aren’t that many senior level guys wanting to train so if every school has one then three quarters of them wouldn’t have any athletes. Guys want to train with other high level guys so now the pool is even smaller. So at the end of the day it’s really not a level playing field and it creates gross inequities that have finally come to a boiling point. 

That's fine, and I don't disagree that there are advantages for some over others.  But again, if its not an even playing field, its because the programs at the top created that.  It may have been from sixty years ago and tradition or ten years ago and hard ass work, but either way they created it. It wasn't given to them.  To me, an equal playing field means everyone has the opportunity.  Well....everyone does have the opportunity.  It may be more difficult for some than others to get equal results, but the opportunity is there.  That's life in the real world.  Isnt' that what education is all about?  Preparing for life in the real world.

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11 hours ago, Lurker said:

That's fine, and I don't disagree that there are advantages for some over others.  But again, if its not an even playing field, its because the programs at the top created that.  It may have been from sixty years ago and tradition or ten years ago and hard ass work, but either way they created it. It wasn't given to them.  To me, an equal playing field means everyone has the opportunity.  Well....everyone does have the opportunity.  It may be more difficult for some than others to get equal results, but the opportunity is there.  That's life in the real world.  Isnt' that what education is all about?  Preparing for life in the real world.

You didn’t read what I wrote. There are only so many athletes!  Not every school can realistically even have an RTC as much as they may want one. There just aren’t the athletes. Just ask Ben Askren at Wisconsin. So all of the serious blue chippers will eliminate any school from their list that doesn’t offer a high level RTC. 

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7 hours ago, AnklePicker said:

You didn’t read what I wrote. There are only so many athletes!  Not every school can realistically even have an RTC as much as they may want one. There just aren’t the athletes. Just ask Ben Askren at Wisconsin. So all of the serious blue chippers will eliminate any school from their list that doesn’t offer a high level RTC. 

I did read what you wrote. I just don’t think that’s a reason at all to stop them. The RTC program is still in its infancy stage. Because of them there are athletes now continuing to train and compete who before probably wouldn’t have because there were less resources. This trend will continue, and more and more athletes will be able to continue to train. 

Not every FBS football school has as the resources of an Alabama, Ohio State, etc to build the type of facilities and staffs to attract the top athletes. They built that. Should we take that advantage away from them too. That’s fair?

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On 8/7/2019 at 11:41 AM, osufan12 said:

You absolutely can blame schools if they are using that pay and loan forgiveness to skirt NCAA scholarship limits. That is against NCAA rules. I'm pro-RTC but I also don't see any real issue with the discussion and them having some more oversight. 

But the RTC is allowed to pay athletes. A club would be allowed to pay athletes too. If being a professional athlete is allowable then you can't say a professional athlete can't get paid. A coach does not have to say anything at all to a recruit about it. The recruits would already know that the RTC or club pays athletes. 

Blaming successful coaches for being successful, or claiming they are breaking rules simply by being successful is sour grapes. Its patently ridiculous to be frank. 

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30 minutes ago, TBar1977 said:

But the RTC is allowed to pay athletes. A club would be allowed to pay athletes too. If being a professional athlete is allowable then you can't say a professional athlete can't get paid. A coach does not have to say anything at all to a recruit about it. The recruits would already know that the RTC or club pays athletes. 

Blaming successful coaches for being successful, or claiming they are breaking rules simply by being successful is sour grapes. Its patently ridiculous to be frank. 

Depends what you mean by "pay". They can pay for expenses and for work performed. They can't legally pay just to train if still NCAA eligible. I'm sure some skirt that but ... As I recall Floyd Little was paid for "work performed" back in the day. That "work performed" was cleaning out his locker at Syracuse! Sheesh!

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1 hour ago, TBar1977 said:

But the RTC is allowed to pay athletes. A club would be allowed to pay athletes too. If being a professional athlete is allowable then you can't say a professional athlete can't get paid. A coach does not have to say anything at all to a recruit about it. The recruits would already know that the RTC or club pays athletes. 

Blaming successful coaches for being successful, or claiming they are breaking rules simply by being successful is sour grapes. Its patently ridiculous to be frank. 

You can't do that in lieu of scholarship money though. The RTC can't be a work around of the 9.9 scholarship limit and a lot of coaches seem to think this happening. 

End of the day, the list of well-respected coaches who have come out, on the record, saying the system needs some kind of reform is impossible to ignore and should show everyone it is a discussion at least worth having. it has nothing to do with sour grapes and blaming successful coaches for being successful. That is just silly. Tom Ryan is as successful at this stuff as anyone and even he says there needs to be reform. 

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I do think they need to be careful with how they word anything about RTCs paying athletes just to make sure they don't prevent them from helping college kids travel to compete internationally.  Like Yianni or Fix - I hope that they aren't getting paychecks from FLWC or whatever the OSU RTC is called, but I don't have any issue if their RTC buys their plane tickets, pays for their hotels and entry fees, and so on. 

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4 hours ago, osufan12 said:

You can't do that in lieu of scholarship money though. The RTC can't be a work around of the 9.9 scholarship limit and a lot of coaches seem to think this happening. 

End of the day, the list of well-respected coaches who have come out, on the record, saying the system needs some kind of reform is impossible to ignore and should show everyone it is a discussion at least worth having. it has nothing to do with sour grapes and blaming successful coaches for being successful. That is just silly. Tom Ryan is as successful at this stuff as anyone and even he says there needs to be reform. 

Who is paying post grads in lieu of scholarship money as an undergrad? That is possible, in theory, but who is actually doing that? 

Are you going to tell me I don't get the ;point? That its possible? I understand that. But its possible to pay athletes in myriads of other ways too. The idea is short sighted, but if you must and if you think it will "even the playing field". 

The best coaches will still win. 

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