The UDC Firebirds finished their basketball season last month with a 11-17 final record, well out of contention for the D-II March Madness tournament, not that they were allowed to go even if they’d steamrolled the season. In 2008, the NCAA suspended the school’s athletics programs from championship eligibility until 2013, citing the “single most egregious lack of institutional control ever seen by the committee.” They refer, of course, to UDC’s total inability to keep records about its student athletes, and allowing 248 student athletes to practice and compete while in violation of its rules.
Recently, as UDC University President Sessoms has come under scrutiny for records surrounding his travel for the institution, so too have other officials at the school. Head Basketball Coach Jeff Ruland, a former NBA player with the Bullets, has had his $187,000 salary revealed. That makes Ruland one of the most well-paid coaches in Division II, earning more than triple the Division II average from 2005.
Ruland’s tenure with UDC has gone slightly better than his 2006-7 season with Iona College, in which his team won just 2 games, and when you think that he can’t host recruits, and has a diminished number of scholarships, 11-17 might well be a triumph, but do we need to pay a basketball coach $187,000?
There’s no question that Ruland has a hard job. Recruiting students is difficult when your school is in rough straits both with the NCAA, its board, and its own student body. But is $187k the right pay for a rebuilding basketball program in D-II?