Nepotism is the practice of transferring assets, or opening doors for those within your family, usually those with the same last name as you, like your kids. In sports, nepotism is made black and white and is so utterly clear that it’s commonly infuriating, especially when the kids are not in a position to fully handle the same responsibilities that their relatives were so ready to take part in. Usually, this is seen in the form of the sons or daughters of famous coaches or owners being favorably looked at or rather straight up given positions of power without actually earning it, and instead just having the right last name.
The owners of any given sports team transfer the ownership of the team to his or her kids when the time is right, and there is no argument about it, what lucky kids… Besides the owners, it is common that potential coaches also benefit greatly in the hiring process if they are related to and have the same last name as a previously established and well respected head coach. To me, this favorable process for the children of accomplished men and women is not a fair process and needs to be reevaluated, especially when you consider the evidence I will bring into the conversation.
For example, Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, inherited the team from his father in 1997, right after his father passed away. At just 38 years old Jim Irsay became the shot caller of a multibillion dollar brand. The results were not pretty. He has had drinking problems ever since and has even been suspended by the NFL multiple times for drug related incidences. As recently as 2014, he was arrested for DUI and found to have multiple pills in his car, along with 20,000 cash. I’m not sure a man of this character would have been able to accomplish the same things as his father and thus I’m not sure if it’s fair for him to be put in the same position without any due diligence. Furthermore, as we move to coaches, a recent example of unfavorable nepotism which ended badly took place in college basketball. Pat Summit, a hall of fame women’s basketball coach with multiple championships to her name, has a son named Tyler who was hired at age 24 to be head coach at Louisiana Tech University. In this case, clearly the University wanted the attention for having a Pat Summit relation as their head coach, I mean what other head coach gets hired at age 24? As they quickly found out, her kid is not her. Within 2 years, the University was disgraced to learn that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with one of his players and was promptly asked to leave.
There are many more cases of nepotism within sports, way too many to count, and most of the time the results are terrible. There should be more awareness to the issues around nepotism and perhaps a stop should be put to the practice, especially since it leaves so many potential head coaches and owners with nothing. Perhaps these accomplished men and women should share the wealth and let others accomplish the same feats, after all great power should be earned, not given.