the rules of the NCAA

This blog is about managing the day-to-day in an agency; however I actually do think and read about other things, and will provide my opinion. And sometimes I can even tie it in to managing that daily grind.

I wasn’t really interested in football until oh, the 2011 season. The Oregon Ducks were on TV and doing really well. Since I had spent most of my life in Oregon, and my husband is an alum, we decided to watch what turned out to be awesome football. I got hooked, and followed the Ducks since.

So I got an email other day with a link to this story, An Oregon Football Player Faked An Injury In The Fiesta Bowl So A Walk-On With $70,000 In Student Loans Could Play. Then I clicked through to this article in the Oregonian by John Canzano about Oregon Ducks Football player Dan Ebanez. (And a follow-up article here.)

The Oregonian article says:

“In fact, the NCAA is so strict with regulations during the academic year that the non-scholarship players aren't allowed to dine alongside those receiving financial aid for playing sports.

"We get out of our football meetings at night, and we're hungry and tired, and the scholarship players go off to the dining hall to eat together and us walk-ons all sort of just walk away and have to fend for ourselves," Ebanez said. "It's like a final little slap in the face."

Now I’m sure the NCAA must have some sort of really good reason for this rule, but it just seems totally B.S. to me.  Why? Because they are a team. Meritocracy is cited as the reason, but in a team, segregating them seems like a huge contradiction to me. How can you really congeal a team when there are separate spaces for dining?

Am I totally out of line here? I just don’t get it.

If you haven’t had to pay for college lately, it’s expensive. Loans are the only way most of us can get an education which leads to that ever-important degree. And I’m sure you’ve read all about how new graduates can’t get jobs – or if they do, the wages don’t come close to covering a living wage AND student loan payments.

Here’s the deal: awesome guy, hard worker, well respected = deserves a break. His teammates thought so. They made sure he got some on-field time in the bowl game.

If you have interest in helping Dan Ebanez, who is highly regarded by coaches and teammates (and the press); or perhaps offer up a good job so he can pay off his student loans – shoot me an email  Or you can contact John Canzano through the Oregonian. Or you can probably get in contact with Mr. Ebanez through the University of Oregon.

And here’s your tie-in with management:

Look around your agency or department – meritocracy creates a huge divide that prevents passing along valuable insight and skills – and it works both ways. Do you even know what the employees in your agency are capable of? Have you asked them or given them a chance?

 Your veteran staff has earned the right to take on the juiciest creative assignments. But give those on the support team the opportunity to show you their talent occasionally. I’ll bet they will amaze you.