I usually don't comment on these kinds of topics but I just feel that for the good of the coaching vocation, it is something that should be openly discussed because it strikes at the heart of what we know and love. ESPN's Outside the Lines did a feature report over the weekend about the practice of "package deals." That is, head coaches in the NCAA who hire a person to be an assistant on the staff because of their relationship with a recruit, with the intent of bringing that recruit to their school.

Most of the ESPN segment is common knowledge (at least for most coaches I know). I think there is a bigger issue here that is only addressed at the end of the segment with Coach Phil Martelli. The problem with "package deals" is not that it is against the rules (because it isn't), or the money (all college basketball is about money). The larger issue here is the perception and reality that the vocation of the "basketball coach" has been reduced to that of a hustling snake-oil salesman. It does a disservice to the thousands of coaches who chose the path of dignity and honor. That is not to say that I think any of the individuals who got jobs through "package deals" are bad people, but that we need to be honest with ourselves and call a spade a spade.

"Package deals" happen not just in college basketball (men and women), but in high school as well. I think we all know of coaches without teaching certification who have been hired full-time by schools (which isn't against the rules), because they have stud sons and daughters or coached AAU with the promise of bringing those players to the school.

So much of basketball is about getting the talent, I think we all know that. But I agree with Phil Martelli, more legislation isn't the solution. I think what's lost here is honor among coaches, we should be able to work on the honor system. I'm not so cynical to believe that coaching is all business and nothing else, just as I'm not so naive to believe that coaching is "all about the kids." But I do believe that coaches are human beings, and as humans we are rational, we make conscious decisions. So the reasoning is, why would I as a coach (or athletic director) willingly participate in an action that would damage the integrity of this great vocation? I think as coaches collectively, as a community, we can send a message that coaching still has integrity. Does that mean that such practices will be completely eliminated? Probably not, but at least the greater coaching community will know which programs are the ones that run "cleanly" and those that are not.

Thought-provoking to be sure, and I am sure there are strong opinions either way. If you haven't seen the 12 minute ESPN feature, here it is (Phil Martelli shows up around 10:00),