I’m normally not quick to label one NCAA decision on a waiver or eligibility case as a “Pandora’s Box”. But I have to believe that football coaches around the country are looking at the waiver granted to Ole Miss and licking their chops:
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, who missed spring drills due to should surgery, explained the situation to Parrish Alford of the Tupelo Daily Journal.
Wallace said, “The NCAA granted that Coach [Dan] Werner could be out there to watch me, so that my mechanics remain the same so I don’t reinjure myself. That’s been really helpful.”
I am certain that this waiver includes a host of conditions. Any workout likely has to be initiated by the athlete and meet all the other definitions of “voluntary” activity. The coach is probably limited to only correcting mechanical issues which may result in injury and may not direct or conduct the workout. As for the length of the waiver, a good guess would be until fall camp starts or a doctor decides that the risk of reinjury is gone or minimal, whichever comes first.
Allowing a coach to be present during workouts to evaluate and correct mechanical issues can be a big advantage. And that’s just if everything is above board. The circumstances of such a waiver could create a situation ripe for abuse: no other coaches and no other athletes around to monitor or even witness the coach exceeding the exceptions granted by the waiver and putting a player through a full individual skill session.
I bet we’ll see a sharp uptick in these cases filed going into next summer. There are some checks, like the need for medical documentation, but that just assumes that a school cannot get a trainer or doctor who will sign off on some credible looking medical records. Luckily summer workouts for football, which should not be more than a couple years away, will alleviate some of the need for coaches to try and game the waiver system.