CBS Sports college basketball writers Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander spent the July evaluation period at NCAA-sanctioned events, where they talked with coaches from all levels. They asked for honest opinions on players, coaches and issues in the sport. They'll be sharing those opinions over a three-week period.
Larry Brown once hired Danny Manning's father, which was widely frowned upon but incredibly successful. And John Calipari hired Dajuan Wagner's dad. And, later, Tyreke Evans' trainer. And, yes, Bill Self used to employ Ronnie Chalmers, whose son hit this shot in the championship game of the 2008 NCAA Tournament ...
In other words, package deals have been happening forever. Some of the biggest names in college basketball have participated. And they were brought back into the national headlines this summer when Washington's Lorenzo Romar added Michael Porter Sr. to his staff in a move that ensured a subsequent commitment from a consensus top-five prospect from the Class of 2017 -- his son, Michael Porter Jr.
Is this type of thing still frowned upon in the profession?
To find out, we asked more than 100 coaches the following question:
Do you have an issue with coaches doing package deals?
FIVE QUOTES THAT STOOD OUT
Once upon a time, hiring a person specifically to get a player would land you on Outside The Lines because most considered it over the line. But that's obviously not the case anymore. And there are, I think, two reasons:
1. Package deals have been normalized by some of the sport's biggest names.
2.The NCAA has put restrictions on exactly how somebody can and must be hired.
Let me explain: for years and years, if you wanted to invent a staff position -- like assistant trainer or director of player personnel -- you could invent a staff position and hire basically anybody you wanted, which gave programs with massive budgets an advantage. But now a person connected to a prospect must be hired as a full-time/on-the-road assistant or else the school hiring him can't recruit the prospect with whom he's connected, meaning coaches are required to use an important position to make package deals happen.
That's why Memphis had to hire Keelon Lawson as one of its three assistants. Otherwise, former coach Josh Pastner would have been forbidden from recruiting Lawson's sons -- K.J. and Dedric Lawson. And that's why Washington had to hire Michael Porter Sr as one of its three assistants. Otherwise, coach Lorenzo Romar would have been forbidden from recruiting Porter's son -- Michael Porter Jr.
Bottom line, package deals now come at a real cost.
Are you willing to add a man to your actual staff who might offer little in a traditional sense just to get a player or two? Are you willing to have one less person who can help with scouting and instruction?
Each coach must consider those questions on a case-by-case basis.
Not everybody would've hired Michael Porter Sr.
But lots would've jumped at the opportunity.
Either way, know this: college coaches aren't out there negatively judging Lorenzo Romar for what he did, and it's not even really considered controversial anymore. Like many coaches said, nobody is getting paid millions of dollars to run a high-major program about which purists fantasize. They get paid to win. And it's difficult to win without good players. So, the consensus seems to be, if there's something legal that can be done to help add good players, only a fool would be foolish enough to not at least consider it.