Harvey Hyde: Observations on Football &Amateur Athletics

This Friday’s speaker was introduced by Jeff Johnson. Harvey Hyde is a long time Arcadia resident and well known for his long association and passion for the game of football.

After graduating from University of Redlands, he started his coaching career at Norte Vista High School in Riverside. Following that he was the Assistant Football Coach at Pasadena City College for 2 years as the Defensive Coordinator and took that team to the Junior Rose Bowl. From there he moved to the University of Hawaii as the Defensive Coordinator for 2 years. He returned to PCC as their Head Football Coach until 1981, winning 4 National Championships. Harvey then became the Head Football Coach at the University of Las Vegas where he coached for 4 years, taking his team to its 1st Division One bowl game (they won).

With a change in administration at UNLV, both Harvey and his fellow coach Jerry Tarkanian (basketball) were fired. He had to decide what to do next and he chose to go into broadcasting. Today it might seem odd to have a radio or television sports show that didn’t have a former coach on the program, but it was not always that way. Harvey explained that John Madden was the first coach to break through into broadcasting. Harvey started his own production company and has been doing radio in Vegas where he has done the National Broadcast of the game of the week since 1985. Harvey also produced the Jerry Tarkanian Television Shows and hosted 72 television shows in Las Vegas on ABC. He is currently doing Vegas shows 5 days a week and during football season, he adds to that schedule the USC pre-game show 2 1/2 hours before the game. He hosts Sunday morning’s LA Trojan Brunch from 9 to 11 on ESPN-LA and he is doing a podcast for uscfootball.com year round.

Harvey spoke to us about Amateur Athletics. He explained that when you are a college coach you have a family of about 120 people. It is difficult for a coach because of the popularity of the game and the money. The kids are in a spotlight. If someone gets in trouble, it is big news. Other kids might do the same thing but it is not going to be treated the same way. Amateur Athletics? Pete Carroll got paid $5 million. Routinely coaches are paid $2 or $3 or $4 million. It is not amateur, it is a business. A program will cost $90 million. None of that money comes out of the school’s budget; it has to be raised. To do this you need a University President that stands behind the program and is committed. And you have to win. There is a lot of pressure.

How do you fix it? It is a great experience for kids to go to college. Athletics gives them the opportunity to see new places and do things they never could have imagined. Of course, the standards and admission requirements are constantly being raised. Football is serious business Just look at the South East conference; those people take their football seriously. So, you have to do what you have to do to get the kids in your program or they will end up playing against you! That is what you’re dealing with.

Part of the solution would be to change the academic requirements. We need to consider vocational classes. Plumbers and other tradesmen make good money and we need their services. Everyone going to college doesn’t need to be a doctor or a lawyer. Today kids don’t have many options. It used to be there was a draft; join the service and learn a job. Why does everyone have to go to college?
Harvey was adamant that there should not be paid Amateur Athletics but the athletes should be able to take out loans. The college athlete has no source of income. He told us of a kid that arrived at school in a brand new car that his parents bought him. He told him he’d help him with his stuff. What stuff? The kid had nothing. The athletes need to have some money to be able buy things like all the other students. They should be able to take out student loans because otherwise they have to find other means to earn money. That’s where they are vulnerable to agents etc.

College sports are the minor leagues of the NFL. Today, kids won’t red shirt because it cuts into their earnings by delaying their entry into the NFL. The NCAA must partner with the NFL. If the kid leaves early to join the NFL then he must be required to pay the college back for its investment in him. Currently if you get into trouble at school, you just go to the NFL and you are pardoned. Punishments need to be carried over to the NFL so that there are financial consequences.
What is the answer? Harvey says it’s simple. But smart people need to step up and make the hard choices or nothing will change.

He also commented that the Rosebowl is absolutely fantastic! State of the Art. If you haven’t seen it you need to. It will have a big financial impact on the area and that includes Arcadia.
And finally, the NFL will happen in LA. Farmers Insurance paying $600 million for naming rights made it a sure thing.