Workout issues for local pro track athletes, coaches
By Cedric Golden
Monday, April 25, 2011, 04:22 PM
I had a nice visit with former Texas track All-American Leo Manzano at the Texas Relays and he was feeling good about his preparations for the World Track and Field Championships.
Manzano and former Texas teammates Kyle Miller and Jacob Hernandez run for Nike Austin, a local track club that just ran into a workout issue. It turns out University of Texas officials informed Tampa-based coach John Cook and his assistant three months ago that they will no longer be allowed to coach on the UT campus because it violates a state law prohibiting paid coaches from instructing athletes at publicly funded universities.
“We’re interested in training for the world championships and training at the most convenient facility possible,” Cook told me by phone. “We find this unacceptable.”
When I called Texas AD DeLoss Dodds last week, he said he had spoken with Cook. “There is a state law that says (professional coaches) can’t come on campus and work and be paid for it,” he said. “All of our former athletes are more than welcome to come back and work at our facilities. But they can’t bring a coach on to campus. I told him that to his face and he didn’t like it.”
The athletes, Cook and other coaches like him have a legitimate gripe but a state law is a state law and you can’t blame the university for following the rules, even if it took UT a while to enforce those rules. The NCAA and USA Track and Field should get together to find an amicable solution because the participants are the ones who will suffer in the end if they don’t get that one-on-one training that’s crucial to their success on an international level. And if the athletes suffer over here, the medal count will suffer abroad.