Dave and Gary Discuss NCAA Rule Changes

At 8:45am on Wednesday, January 2nd, David wrote:

I’ve been [anatomy reference removed] deep in Montana snow the last couple weeks and haven’t been following the swim gossip. You got anything you’re interested in? I could research/write something funny that you’ll ruin?

If not, I’ll make something up.


At 8:52am on Wednesday, January 2nd Gary wrote:

Dear Crommunist,

“[Anatomy reference removed] Deep In Montana” sounds like the gayer follow up to Brokeback Mountain.

So Penis!


At 9:34am on Wednesday, January 2nd David wrote:

Uh…can we keep the gay slurs to a minimum/make it clearer which side we’re on? Yeah, yeah, I know…funkiller. But, that’s one I’m pretty sensitive about, and I feel like people can mistake what you’re doing pretty easily.

At 10:05am on Wednesday, January 2nd Gary wrote:

How is it a slur to reference “Brokeback Mountain,” a movie about homosexual cowboys, as “gay”? Brokeback Mountain is a gay movie. “Balls Deep in Montana” sounds like a gayer movie. It’s not my fault you’re masterminding gay movie titles.

At 11:46am on Wednesday, January 2nd, David wrote:

Well, I think it’s offensive. Anyway, thanks to your ignoring my plea-for-help, now I have to give you a multiple choice question for topics. Stay tuned for lame-ness.

At 11:47am on Wednesday, January 2nd, Gary wrote:

Waiting to exhale

At 8:46pm on Wednesday, January 2nd, David wrote:

Okay, here you go.

(a) Possible NCAA rule changes
(b) Third and Fourth to Worst Contributors to SwimSwam, as decided by our boss
(c) A Radke/Advice -type column
(d) all of the above
(e) none of the above
(f) (a), (b), (c), but not (d)
(g) (b), (e), but not (g)

At 8:47pm on Wednesday, January 2nd, Gary wrote:

Your multiple-choice thing is actually funny. Actually. We can continue the column by addressing the options you’ve provided. Sure.

Sure. Let’s us do it.

At 8:48pm on Wednesday, January 2nd, David wrote:

Let’s us do it? How the [expletive removed] am I supposed to write a column with this kind of amateur hour?

At 8:49pm on Wednesday, January 2nd, Gary wrote:

Let’s us, you and me, do it.

…”It” meaning the ABC multiple choice question thing. Why? What did you think I meant? You didn’t actually think… You know, Brokeback Mountain…

 ———————————     You are not replying to the latest message in this conversation. To see this message click here     ———————————————–

At 8:49pm on Wednesday, January 2nd, David wrote:


At 8:49pm on Wednesday, January 2nd, Gary wrote (awkwardly):

Yeah. No. Totally. Okay, well. Let’s start with “A” then, shall we? I think that the NCAA should change their rules. The abolishment of slavery was in like 1840 or something. Why do they think they’re so goddamn special that they don’t have to follow the RULES like everybody else?! It’s like racist against athletes. Except for athletes, not race. Anyway, slavery is bad. Bottom line. Nobody should do it. That’s how I feel.

At 11:15pm on Thursday, January 3rd, David wrote:

Dear Gary,

Your last note hurt me a lot. I’m sure when you transcribe it to our lawblog you’ll add some parenthetical to highlight your superiority.

Real cool.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. NCAA Rule Changes. As a resident anarchist, we know where you stand: let the market decide. Remove all regulation, then let the good juices of competition drive college recruiting to Hulkian levels of efficiency. Within a couple years of deregulation, this will lead to coaches planting chips into recruits, that will let these students’ suitors know what their prey is tasting and smelling. Then, the coach can use this information to Tweet out clever haikus like “Machine Gun Kelly / Ate pastrami on rye / Come to Grambling State.” Athletes will win through more targeted marketing, the best coaches will get the best swimmers, and the Tweeterverse will gain a new niche.

As the resident soul of this plog, I however, am opposed. Not because I think the recruiting thing is a bad idea (though it is), but because I miss my teenage years. Do you realize I’d never had a phone call in my wombat-cave until Foenix University recruited me?Put that. In your pipe. And smoke it.-DaveP.S. I don’t think that I should write to you anymore: pretty sure I’m losing my mind.At 8:46am on Friday, January 4th, Gary wrote:

I think you’ve already lost your mind. I’m guessing it occurred when you holed up in your wombat cave-slash-masturbatorium for the majority of your teenaged years. Again, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Free market college recruitment haikus? F U, and I don’t mean Foenix University…

I was suggesting that the NCAA desist their practice of slavery. Nobody else can exploit the blood, sweat and ligament tears of “student athletes” (slaves). What makes the NCAA so special that they are able to get away with this blatant exploitation? The NCAA needs to start paying the athletes that are making the NCAA billions of dollars.

At 2:52pm on Sunday, January 6th, David wrote:

Gary, your whole life is meant for politics with your two talking points.  All you do is bark about (1) pedophilia in swimming, and (2) more money for athletes. Como se dice, “boring” en Espanol?

Instead of talking turkey on an issue, you go talking parrot on me “Bucack, bu-CACK more money for athletes, bucack!” What would your vision of swimming look like? Would swimmers even go to college?

I should admit, I’m starting from the idea that college swimming is a good thing. After rocking the European training thing for two years, I think we have the better model. Swimmers elsewhere have no support to pursue an education: no “makeup tests,” no scholarships for that matter… at 18 you end up deciding whether you’re going to be a serious swimmer or have some sort of non-swimming career. I think that’s a bad thing.

Do you disagree with the idea of college swimming in the abstract, or just the current system?

At 4:40pm on Sunday, January 6th, Gary wrote:

I hate the sense of entitlement. It’s unreasonable that a college should pay for a collegiate swimming program. Do you have any idea how much it costs to maintain a pool and competitive swimming program? What’s the return to the college or university? I still haven’t heard a convincing supportive argument that doesn’t reek of entitlement. The US collegiate system has supported so many on the dole, for so long, that the support is expected and under-appreciated, if acknowledged at all. The ballooned number of NCAA system parasites makes dismantling the error a daunting challenge. It’s like, once the alien is inside of you, you can’t remove the alien without killing the host

Colleges should pay the athletes that are making billions of dollars for the college. This would ultimately eliminate all collegiate swimming programs, and any other sport that is currently suckling up to the money teet of college football. Like the plantations of the South, every successful collegiate swimming program today is built on the backs of slavery.

Maybe if the university didn’t have to maintain a 50-meter pool for 20 to 40 entitled kids in Speedos then they wouldn’t have to charge $50,000 a year for other students to get an education?

Colleges shouldn’t have to fund financial black holes with no return. It’s not their responsibility to be the Olympic farm system to the world, an incubator for every swimming federation in the world, all of whom will not provide any return to the NCAA for their investment and support. Will swimming survive being cut off from university hand outs? Yeah. The stakeholders (like USA Swimming and the Olympic Committee) that profit from the sport should assume the expenses of maintaining it. It’s in their best interest to.

Will the future hold a better model than the current NCAA farm model? Probably not. At least for a while. I assume that USA Swimming or the Olympic Committee would begrudgingly increase athlete and club support, over time. The current system has been a great deal for the sport of swimming, a sport that I love. But as it stands, it isn’t a
fair deal to the NCAA.

Blather point?

David: Let’s just move on to “B”.

Great: The worst contributors to Swim Swam, besides us? I’m going with Jesse Kulbashinode. Pray tell, what is this?

…I feel like punching myself in the face. Jesse in a lot of ways reminds me of you in this regard, David.

At 4:40pm on Sunday, January 6th, David wrote:

Gary, you can’t just write “David:” in your email and expect me to take your not-so-subtle hint to move on. I will not move on to how bad we are; I want to stick with your point on collegiate swimming.

Because, I want to make sure where we disagree. I have no problem with the USOC filling the same role that colleges currently do: matching the best athletes with the best coaches and providing those athletes with BOTH training and education stipends. I think that could work, though I’m skeptical that the education part would remain after a while. Also, I am not sure if it would work as well as the current system.

It seems that the USOC would have an interest in producing gold medals and gold medals only, not in the development of the athletes as a whole.

At 5:40pm on Sunday, January 6th, Gary wrote:

Why should the USOC pay for your education? As long as they pay you enough for your services of growing the Olympic movement and driving participation in sport you should be able to spend that money however you’d like.  Of course the USOC doesn’t care about providing a “whole” to an athlete. An athlete can get that “whole” at the university frat house like anyone else. The USOC will need to develop top athletes and support the club system to win gold medals. Or the USOC could just figure out how to provide some return to the universities that are producing their gold medalists.

Either way, when the farm clubs produce athletes that produce medals, the Olympic Committee sells sponsorships. Athletes are part of that equation and they must be supported financially. With dollars.

At 6:50pm on Sunday, January 6th, David wrote:

But what about society’s role in this whole thing? People love watching the Olympics, and kids grow up thinking that they want to be Olympians (if they can’t get into the NBA, NFL, MLB, NAMBLA, or NHL; of course)… largely because they see everyone else going gaga over it.

But, once those swimmers make (or don’t make) the Olympics, I think that society would lose out if those athletes have no skills outside of the pool. Every swimmer can’t be a swim coach, that’s basic Math. So, most will have to do something else. The world needs ditch diggers (read: bloggers), but at some point people actually have to work. Plus, swimming and other sports get a lot more people to college than would attend otherwise.  Again, more education, and society benefits.

At 6:51pm on Sunday, January 6th, Gary wrote:


At 6:52pm on Sunday, January 6th, David wrote:

Typed like a true cotton-headed ninnymuggins. Of course, in your world, the USOC would probably identify swimmers early on, and remove them from their families to develop their skills at elite training centers. That is, less total swimmers swimming in their twenties (I doubt the USOC could come up with the funds that colleges currently provide in the aggregate). Doubling up this point, parents push kids to swim partly because they know it will get them into a good college, or even a college.  Remember, kids are robots until they can vote, so they just do whatever their parents tell them.

So, the good news is that my point about a lot of ditch diggers would be lessened: less swimmers to dig ditches.

The bad news is that we would lose our huge (ahem) pool of talent. And, I think that would actually hurt the US Swimming Team. Our current advantage over everyone is not just our training, facilities, natural awesomeness, but also our numbers. Cullen Jones wasn’t a star til he was in his twenties. Did you even swim before you were 18? I think it’s debatable whether these late-blooming athletes would be able to break into the sport without the college model. There are approximately 2.1 billion current U.S. college swimmers, by the way.

At 7:37pm on Sunday, January 6th, Gary wrote:

So tell me, who’s responsibility is it to develop Michael Phelps’s skill set outside of the pool? Society (aka taxpayers)? The NCAA? Or Michael Phelps? Under my supreme leadership, club teams would be better supported. Teams (like athletes) that produce more medals would receive more funding. Why shouldn’t clubs compete for funding? This is, after all, sport.

What other country isn’t already taking advantage of “our” training, facilities and natural awesomeness? There is no advantage to “us” in college swimming if you’re talking about USA Swimming. Who are you referencing when you say “our”? The USA? NCAA athletic directors?

Swimmers and coaches on the NCAA dole, getting student fee derived and tax subsidized Speedos and pensions? (Insert joke about a pension in my coach’s Speedo)

Numbers, you’re correct, are the competitive advantage for USA Swimming. But none of this makes a wipe of difference to an athletic director who has to cut a check for some enormous chlorine bill every month. And why should it? What’s the return?

On the other hand, it’s the great number of swimming participants in the US that handicap our ability to progress towards a professional model. You don’t want to spend 50 hours a week swimming for $1200-a-month? Fine. There’s a long line of swimmers just a few hundredths of a second behind you waiting to take your place. Now scram, you unpatriotic scab!

And tell me again, why should the NCAA have to fund 2.1 billion swimmers that aren’t bringing any financial return to the universities?

At 8:45pm on Sunday, January 6th, David wrote:

Sorry, I haven’t been reading your emails until now, but that was an amazing clip, by the way! Did you read this article by Rob Lowe on him, Swayze, Estevez, Cruise, Matt Dillon, and Sheen coming up in the industry?

I feel like I’m usually unchallenged on bad 80s movies, but you leave even me in awe. What was it like growing up in the 70s, and having a developed (kind of) mind in the 80s?

Anyway, I had a couple cocktails and am too buzzed to respond to your small-mindedness. I’ll get back to you in the morning. Mens sana incorpore sano my friend, words to live by.

At 9:57pm on Sunday, January 6th, Gary wrote:

Kind of like a Charlie fueled orgy with Maggie Thatcher and Alf in the back seat of a Grand National.

At 7:45am on Monday, January 7th, David wrote:

What happened last night? Good think I’m giving up drinking for New Year’s.

At 11:45am on Monday, January 7th Gary wrote:

Oh man, just woke up. I think we should end it here

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You make total sense on the NCAA thing.

I hate every bit of it, but there is nothing you can say from a black & red, bottom line, NCAA = definition of hypocrisy, to argue. Game, blouses.

This is the best article in the history of this website. No hyperbole at all, that was extremely good. Well done, Gary. (And Dave, too. You were there and stuff.)

It’s going to be ugly as shit when the college bubble bursts. (Housing bubble ain’t got nuffin’ on it.) If there’s anything that forces these changes, it’ll be the whole goddamn thing exploding.

About Gary Hall, Jr. and David Cromwell

Gary Hall, Jr. Gary Hall, Jr. has 10 Olympic medals in swimming and represented the United States national team for 15 years. He is currently an active healthcare consultant with a focus on diabetes care providing board support, strategic alliance, marketing and public relations strategy, international sales and distribution services, advocacy, …

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