On Monday CBS Sports posted an internal NCAA staff survey across FBS. The data isn’t close to complete — it lists LSU with zero graduate assistants and Alabama with only one strength coach. Still, it’s an interesting read, with Notre Dame (45), Texas (44), Georgia (42), Auburn (41) and Michigan (40) employing the largest staffs that the NCAA could find through a public website review.
The largest support staff sizes (again, that the NCAA could find) were Georgia (23), Clemson (22), Michigan (22), Texas (22) and Alabama (20). CBS’s Dennis Dodd casts the numbers against the NCAA’s attempts to get its arms around the issue of ever-growing staff sizes.
This is a thorny issue for coaches and administrators. Coaches often crave uniformity, but, for example, Alabama being forced to lay people off just so they can be level with Troy doesn’t feel right and would likely be ripe for a labor lawsuit.
Still, with that in mind, I could help but think of Bill Belichick’s thoughts on the issue of staff sizes, shared on the Suiting Up podcast with Paul Rabil. The Patriots employ 15 on-field coaches, among the fewest in the NFL.
“My philosophy, really, is that less is more, so I’d rather have fewer people doing more work than more people doing a little more work,” Belichick said. “As long as everybody is busy, as long as everybody feels productive, they feel good about what they’re doing and they feel like they’re contributing; I think when people have lag time and kind of not enough to do, that leads to getting distracted and complaining or being less productive. So even though you have more people, sometimes less work gets done.
“From a ‘getting everybody on the same page’ standpoint, which is critical, the fewer people you have to manage, the easier it is to get everybody on the same page,” he continued. “So if you’re talking to 10 people, it’s hard to get all 10 people doing the same thing or doing the right thing. Now you make that number 20, instead of 10, it’s even more difficult. If you have five people supervising another 15 people, now you have another layer there where you’re not dealing directly with everybody, and now you’re somewhat dependent on other people to relay the message the way you want it done and to monitor it that way. Certainly, there’s a degree of that, but as much of that I can eliminate, I think works better for me.”