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Letter to Scott
Malamute, 30 January 2009

Washington is self-reporting two secondary recruiting violations that occurred when Washington coaches Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt met with Elijah Asante, who is the head football coach at Jordan high school in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles Times reporter sat in on the visit, which is a violation of NCAA Bylaw 13.10.1 that states "A member institution shall not permit a media entity to be present during any recruiting contact made by an institution's coaching staff." The meeting also violated NCAA Bylaw 13.02.3, which says coaches cannot have off-campus contact with high school underclassmen before July 1 prior to their senior season.

Coach Sarkisian and coach Holt were not aware that the reporter and underclassman would be present at the meeting.

Hereís a link to the story in the Los Angeles Times, "The buddy system helps in recruiting," which first brought the violations to light.

This is the statement from Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward.

"We, as a department, are committed to compliance with the rules. Coach Sarkisian and Coach Holt found themselves in an awkward situation that was not of their doing. They regret that the incident occurred, and I'm confident that they will handle similar circumstances differently in the future."

My letter to Scott

But, hey, Scott -- Jordan, Crenshaw, Manual Arts, and Jefferson are all inner-city high schools located in Los Angeles.

Your high school football team ever played an LA inner-city school and won? There isnít a high school in the Bayou or Seattle that can beat one of them on a given day. You can take that to your bank, if itís still in existence.  

You hire a coach who is a tenacious recruiter, and one of the inner city coaches arranges for a meeting with one of his gifted athletes and his buddy, both of whom your coach is chasing. Furthermore, the inner city coach apparently puts out a feeler about a job at Washington as one of your coachís assistants, and heís there for a quasi-interview, ready to pick up the tab for the meal.

And you expect Sark and Nick to stiff the coach next time out and walk out of the meeting?

Not going to happen. Sark and Nick would be crazy to walk out of such a meeting. You donít know LA inner-city football -- obviously, Scott.

Youíd better rehire Tyrone Willingham if you expect your coach to handle the situation differently. 

The only thing Scott and Nick did wrong was not telling the reporter to get the hell out of there. Willingham would have. He never liked reporters, and thought they were troublemakers.

You know, he was right.

See you in March, in the desert.

Your pal, Mal

P. S.

Nick and Sark never talked to the underclassman or the reporter, according to the media.

The inner-city kid or underclassman was present as an observer. Telling him to leave would have been like a kick in the gut, since he was probably looking forward to the encounter and getting a free meal in the company of a couple of Pac-10 coaches. Sometimes you have to break the rules, with extenuating circumstances in mind. Life is not all black and white. Translation: Sarkisian has a heart.

Here's a link to columnist Art Thiel's take on the matter.

Thielís shtick is to apply a black-and-white code of conduct, with no shades of gray in between, towards people he dislikes -- big-time-college-megabuck-making coaches being an example. No human being, prone to making errors and being confronted with awkward situations requiring snap decisions, can play by Thielís rules, a rigged game.

Therein lies the glory of being a Monday morning quarterback.

Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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