Utah State Fires Longtime Tennis Coach Over NCAA Violations

Christian Wright, who was heading into his 22nd season as head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Utah State was fired due to repeated NCAA violations, according to athletic director Scott Barnes. The violations involve private lesson to recruits:

Though the Athletics Department did not release further details on the alleged NCAA violations, former Utah State women’s tennis player Kimi Watts said the violations relate to recruiting policies.

“He had been teaching private lessons to high school students,” Watts said. “They considered that prospective recruits, even though he never taught anyone from Logan that he recruited.”

Bryan Marchant, one of the two assistants who replaced Wright, voiced his frustrations:

“What it is over is ridiculous, not really a violation,” Marchant said. “Pretty much every college coach in the nation does it. A stupid little thing.”

In sports outside of football and basketball, coaches do often coach or provide lessons to prospects. But the form is important. College coaches may be part of a local sports club team as a coach or administrator. College coaches may also run camps or clinics that involve many prospects at once. What is not permitted is private lessons to individual prospects, because the risk of recruiting or extra benefit violations is so much higher.

Women and minority groups are underrepresented in top college coaching and administration positions.

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