It occurred to me while I was writing the previous post that, while student-athletes are treated differently than all other students in many ways, it's a good thing that the rules for recruitment of athletes don't apply to musicians, or my alma mater might be in a world of hurt right now. Just on a whim, I took some of the guidelines from this site (which is way less cumbersome than the NCAA's own pages) and applied them to my "recruiting" of Halfling last year:
DO NOT provide "extra benefits" to student-athletes. The NCAA considers extra benefits to be: taking a student-athlete out to dinner, providing any gift of material value (including...Christmas presents). Oops, that rule got me twice there, as we've certainly done more than our share of dinners, and, like all best friends, one of us will buy if the other is broke at the moment. Needless to say, we certainly exchange Christmas gifts...
DO NOT provide transportation to (the university) for a local high school or junior college athlete who wants to visit our campus. Yup, I would've broken that rule a few times, as I drove him to the Syndicate and Lab Band Madness and maybe a few other things on campus too.
DO NOT entertain in any way or give gifts, benefits, special treatments, or free services to any high school or junior college student-athlete or his/her parents or relatives. Hmm, I think I'm seeing a pattern here...
DO NOT arrange a face-to-face meeting with or go to talk to a prospective student-athlete, his or her parents or relatives. As you can guess, I bombed that one as well, on a weekly basis.
Anyway, you get the idea. Granted, I didn't dig deeply enough to see how the fact that I was sort of his "coach" in high school fit into all this; certainly there are cases where a coach is an alumnus of a college which his players might attend, so it's not like they can prohibit contact between coaches and their own players. There are also some exemptions for family, and, I believe, family friends as well, so I'd probably be covered in some way.
But still, I'm really glad that musicians aren't subject to those same rules; imagine a big music school getting slapped with probation (what would that entail--a limit on concerts?) for giving a blue-chip high school tuba player a Hummer to entice him to choose their program. But then, imagine a world where (non-pop) musicians were compensated like athletes...it boggles the mind.
The best way we can help: I haven't mentioned the horrible Asian tsunami yet on this site, because others have covered it way better than I could ever possibly do. (One of the best online clearinghouses for info on the disaster is the South East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog. I will say that I was a little annoyed at the U.N. official the other day who accused the U.S. and other Western nations of being stingy, but my understanding is that the U.S. pledge has increased tenfold from a few days ago. One of the best ways that ordinary folks like ourselves can help is by donating to the American Red Cross through Amazon. (You may have to try a few times before getting through; I'm betting their traffic is pretty heavy right now.) As of this afternoon, donations through that site alone have passed $8.5 million.
UPDATE: Make that $10 million now. Thanks to Instapundit for the constant updates.