Normally I subscribe to Machiavellian theory, that the end justifies the means. No matter how drastic the measure, if it achieves the end goal then I see success. But when I consider Nick Saban’s response to the current debacle going on between the NFL and college football, I am not so sure.
Bleacher Fan raises interesting points in his criticism of banning NFL scouts from college campuses. He points out that scouts really have not been identified as the problem, yet they are suffering massive collateral damage in Saban’s war on agents. He also proves an intriguing point that colleges and scouts have a mutually beneficial relationship, and it seems illogical for one interest to punish the other. Like cutting off one’s nose to spite their face, it just seems illogical.
Loyal Homer, however, does not subscribe to the notion that universities need scouts on campus. He highlights an obvious, but oft overlooked point that professional teams are afforded plenty of scouting opportunities between college games and the NFL combine. And it is hard not to agree with Loyal Homer, that college football should return to a more normal collegiate state… before under the table deals ruined the future of young promising athletes.
But in the end I could not find fault with the central premise of Bleacher Fan’s argument, that banning college scouts will eventually negatively impact the notoriety of a school. Regardless of past prestige and acclaim, universities that limit a college athlete’s exposure to potential NFL employers are going to lose out on many professional, career-minded recruits. When top recruits learn they will receive less exposure when playing for a given team (like Alabama) than they would playing for another comparable program (let’s say Texas), then it is only logical for athletes seeking to promote a future professional career to sign with the school that puts them in the best position to catch the attention of an NFL team. The obvious decision is for students to play for the team allowing the most exposure. The loss of top talent will be a detriment to school like Alabama that are taking a stand, principled or not.
Unfortunately for Loyal Homer he was forced to defend a decision that Nick Saban himself has backpedaled from. While the preservation of collegiate integrity by banning any and all problems seems commendable, it also doesn’t seem feasible for the longevity of a successful football program. Saban’s decision to lift the ban after a given date is evidence enough of that. College football needs to remedy the problem of outside interference, but banning the scouts is not the answer.