Tuesday Takedown: College Search Firm Business Booming

The University of South Florida thought it had its new men's basketball in Steve Masiello, but an inconsistency uncovered during a background check determined the Manhattan College coach had lied on his resume about graduating from the University of Kentucky. He had already signed a five-year deal with USF when the contract was voided after the discrepancy was discovered. (In an interesting twist, Manhattan opted to keep Masiello but only if he completed his undergraduate degree.)

The Masiello fiasco at South Florida briefly threw the spotlight on the practice of resume manipulation or embellishment, something most commonly associated with University of Central Florida head football coach George O'Leary. In 2001, he resigned as the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame after five days after admitting to falsifying parts of his athletic and academic background on his resume. But in South Florida's case, the focus quickly shifted from resume impropriety to the common practice of using third-party search firms to help fill administrative and coaching vacancies — and the alarming amounts of money being given to these search firms.

Third-party hiring firms have been growing in popularity in recent years with experts estimating that as many as half of the athletic administration vacancies in Division I are filled with the help of third-party consultants. Of note, back in 2007, then University of Washington president Mark Emmert hired a consultant to replace his athletic director that had quit. The search cost the university $75,000, but the consultant, Dan Parker, ultimately found the right person for the job: Washington's interim AD, and a longtime friend of Parker's. Parker and Emmert would go on to work together in the NCAA as Parker helped fill at least a dozen executive level positions once Hemmert took over as the president of the NCAA. In an interesting twist, Parker also played a role in the Rutgers scandal, handling the hiring of new athletic director Julie Hermann. Already reeling from a player-abuse scandal involving the men's basketball coach, Parker failed to uncover incidents of player verbal abuse while Hermann was at the University of Tennessee.

Log in to view the full article
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide
AB Show 2023 in Baltimore
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Nov 1-4, 2023
Learn More
AB Show 2023