Liars Should Always Be Fired

Tim Sackett Candidate Pool, Coaching, College Recruiting, HR & Sports, Resumes

It happened again last week. A college coach, who was having great success, tried to move on to bigger and better things, only to have it discovered he had lied on his resume. The details don’t even matter. We’ve seen this movie many times before. Small school coach does great, beats big schools, big schools come calling with giant offers of employment. Then, it all comes crashing down, when small school coach is found out he “fudged” his resume a little.

This time it was Manhattan basketball coach, Steve Masiello, who got an offer from South Florida, only to have the background check find out he actually never graduated from Kentucky, where he played college basketball for legend Rick Petino… even though he had it on his resume and his Manhattan bio that he graduated in 2000 with a degree in Communications. The boys over at The 8 Man Rotation (Kris Dunn, Steve Boese, Lance Haun, Matt Stollak and Tim Sackett) wanted to respond to this. Here is the email string:

SACKETT: 8 Man Crew – Did this really happen again?! How did every coach in the world not learn from O’Leary and Notre Dame!? My bigger question, beyond the lie, is, why does a basketball coach, in college, really need a degree? It’s not like these guys really care if the kids graduate or not. What’s Calipari’s career graduation rate? Like 3.23%!

HAUN: I have to guess the degree requirement comes from fairly tough push back from the NCAA. How can you say that education and graduation are the most important things for student athletes when it isn’t required of the incredibly well-compensated leader of the program? Isn’t this a holdover from the amateurism argument?

With the student-athlete unionization push, this may become less important. If we acknowledge what we all know–Division I student athletes are poorly compensated employees of the university, relative to the value they bring in–then who cares if the coach graduated from college, as long as he or she can drive wins and increase the value of the athletic program to the university?

BOESE: There are really two separate issues here:

#1: Does a major college basketball (or football or the rest of the NCAA sports no one but the players and their parents care about) need to have graduated from college themselves in order to perform their job duties?

#2: Does the fact that Masiello had inaccuracies (like how I softened that up from “lies”) in his bio/resume disqualify him from being hired at USF?

On the former, I suspect that if at USF the head coaches are considered faculty (Bruno, help me out here), then actually having a degree would be a full-stop requirement. No one gets hired to teach physics or economics or biology without actually knowing something about those subjects, and the undergrad degree is the first indication, and lowest bar to clear, in order to prove one’s subject matter expertise. That, along with Lance’s point on the NCAA politics and posturing seem to me to make having a degree a real requirement for qualification. No one is saying that the basketball coach needs a PhD, but a simple BS or BA? That does not seem unreasonable.

As for the latter, the inaccurate resume/bio, I also think you have to come down hard on Masiello, as well. A candidate for a faculty role or even one on the administrative side at USF would not get a pass if they had a similar error in their presented credentials. The guy had to know, no matter what he says to the contrary, that he never actually graduated. That is the kind of thing you remember, if only because your Aunt Betty sends you a card with $20 in it. So I guess I am old school on this one. College head coaches should have graduated and they shouldn’t lie on their resumes.

DUNN: It’s Darwinian to me. You’ve seen countless examples of fallen angels (Poison song in the background) from the same issue. O’Leary, etc.

Why would anyone fake this anymore? Oh yeah, because they can’t get the job without it. It’s Darwinian because the weaker species dies off. In this case, it’s the coach on the rise that didn’t understand he could have gone to the University of Phoenix, knocked the degree out and no one would have ever complained.

Instead, he lies until he gets caught. The pack thins. Evolution, baby.

PS – I’m pro coaches having a degree, no matter how useless it appears.

#wareagle #brucepearl #degree_yes #BBQinBackyard_yes

STOLLAK: To Steve’s point, college coaches are typically not considered tenure-track faculty. While they may teach an occasional class, they are not expected to:

    • Attend faculty meetings or be given voting privileges over curriculum,
    • Publish articles,
    • Serve on college committees, or
    • Be granted tenure… hence, they can be fired for really poor performance.

So, why is a college degree required in the first place? First, while not faculty, there is an expectation they will address the student in student-athlete, and, thus, understand and provide guidance to students on what it takes to be successful at the college level. Further, look at their high school counterparts; not only is it expected that one has a bachelor’s degree, but usually a teaching certificate as well. Is less education needed at a college level compared to high school?

I also echo Steve’s sentiment regarding other employees of the institution under similar circumstances. Coaches should be treated no different than any other employee when it comes to being truthful on their resume.

SACKETT: Looks like the 8 Man Crew is 5 for 5 on the need for a “valid” college degree to coach college athletics, because I agree. If you’re coaching “student athletes,” where the reality is less than 1% go professional in their sport, you better be helping them get that degree! You, the coach, having gone through that process of obtaining a degree, is important. Beyond that, we’re all in agreement, as well, with the fact that it’s completely stupid to lie on your resume in today’s age of easily-obtained data, especially in high-profile positions.

Hope the Manhattan coach has fun coaching in Maine in the NBA’s Developmental league…