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College basketball recruiting to undergo comprehensive review

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

The issue of summer basketball recruiting will be reviewed through the Division I governance structure over the next year, with the implementation of changes possible by summer 2012.

The Division I Board of Directors directed the study Thursday at its fall meeting.

The Leadership Council is expected to begin the study, with assistance from various stakeholders inside and outside the structure such as the Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and representatives from the youth basketball community (for example, iHoops).

The idea of the more comprehensive review came after the Board considered a recommendation from the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which last month voted overwhelmingly to ask the presidents to keep coaches on campus during the summer. Since that vote, however, enough concerns were identified that the Board chose not to sponsor legislation for the current cycle.

Those who favor getting rid of the summer recruiting period said they were motivated by wanting to reduce the influence of third parties on the recruiting process and a desire to keep coaches home in the summer to help incoming students acclimate to campus. However, the NABC and some conferences want to keep the summer period because of costs, the need for complete evaluation of prospects and the possibility that the change could require more interaction with third parties than the current system.

The Board agreed that the current recruiting model deserves a thorough look, but presidents believed that a major change like eliminating the summer period needed thorough vetting that sponsorship in the current cycle would not provide. At the same time, the Board wanted to ensure that a recommended solution be considered in the next year.

The presidents were willing to sponsor the proposal in the 2011-12 cycle, depending on the results of the overall examination. They stressed the importance of a timely review to reshape the recruiting environment in the sport as quickly as possible.

The Leadership Council meets next at the January 2011 NCAA Convention in San Antonio. The Council is expected to begin its discussion of men’s basketball recruiting at that time.

In other business, the Board did agree to sponsor legislation in the current cycle that would eliminate the ability for student-athletes to opt out of the sickle cell test required of all incoming student-athletes.

The proposal requiring the test for incoming student-athletes unless they sign a waiver declining the test was passed earlier this year and went into effect on Aug. 1. The measure removing the ability to decline the sickle cell test was originally presented to the Legislative Council as noncontroversial legislation from the Division I Championships/Sport Management Cabinet at the request of the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports. The legislation was not moved as noncontroversial because of the significant debate on the issue less than a year ago, in which numerous issues – including declined consent – were vetted. The Council noted the importance of the test and that the adoption of the waiver was not designed to discourage student-athletes from submitting to the test but provided an opportunity to address situations in which student-athletes did not want to be tested for personal reasons.

The Board agreed to sponsor legislation in order to foster a discussion on the topic that would consider both the safety aspects and the privacy concerns.

The legislation will receive first consideration by the Division I Legislative Council in January.

Ten Years of Men’s Basketball Recruiting Reform

A summary of legislative changes in the last decade related to Division I men’s basketball recruiting

2000 – Proposals were passed that:

  • Allowed coaches to contact prospects enrolled in an institution’s summer term if the prospect signed an NLI and was receiving aid to attend the summer session.
  • Allowed coaches to attend a single NCAA-certified basketball event over Final Four  weekend, so long as the event was within 30 miles of the championship.

2001 – Proposals were passed that:

  • Established a dead period the days before the first date of the fall NLI signing period and made the academic evaluation period begin the day after the end of the signing period.
  • Strengthened event certification for men’s basketball events in the summer.
  • Changed the recruiting calendar to allow evaluations in July and contact during the junior year beginning after the Final Four (with restrictions). The legislation also reduced the number of evaluation days during the academic year and restricted April event attendance to the scholastic attendance during the week. The proposal also required all fall evaluations to be at the prospect’s educational institution and permitted phone calls (with limits) after the sophomore year. The measure also permitted official visits during the junior year.
  • Further altered the recruiting calendar to limit contact during the junior year to one phone call.
  • Separated the July evaluation period into two 10-day periods sandwiching a four-day dead period.
  • Prohibited staff and coaches from contacting a prospect’s coach or anyone associated with a prospect during nonscholastic certified summer events.
  • Ended the fall contact period on October 5 (instead of October 14).

2002 – Proposals were passed that:

  • Prohibited certified men’s basketball events from being conducted at sports-wagering venues.
  • Made dead periods inapplicable to prospects enrolled in an institution’s summer term with signed NLIs.
  • Limited nonscholastic evaluations in April to the weekend, excepting national standardized test weekends.
  • Required prospects on nonscholastic teams to be a resident of the state in which the team is located or a geographically adjoining state. Also limited the number of out-of-state prospects on a team to three.
  • Allowed the NCAA basketball certification staff to regulate individuals involved in coaching at certified events.
  • Required institutional camps and clinics to include in-person or video-taped educational sessions about topics such as initial eligibility, gambling, agents and drug use.
  • Permitted participants to receive awards at certified events, so long as the cost is included in the entry fee.

2003 – Proposals were passed that:

  • Allowed coaches to attend NBA pre-draft camps outside contact and evaluation periods.

2004 – Proposals were passed that:

  • Prohibited institutional staff members with basketball duties from coaching nonscholastic teams.
  • Allowed more flexibility in the recruiting calendar and increased phone contact during the senior year in high school. Permitted seven recruiting opportunities (three off-campus contacts), limited academic-year evaluations to scholastic events and permitted once-a-month phone calls from June 15 after the sophomore year through July 31 of the junior year and twice per week beginning August 1 before the senior year.
  • Reinstated the April contact period at nonscholastic events and increased the number of recruiting-person days.

2005 – A proposal was passed that:

  • Prohibited communication with the prospect or anyone associated with a prospect during the April contact period while the prospect is participating in a nonscholastic event.

2006 – No men’s basketball-specific recruiting proposals

2007 – A proposal was passed that:

  • Prohibited attendance at non-institutional, non-organized events during the summer evaluation period.
  • Prohibited coaches from evaluating prospects at nonscholastic events in April

2008 – A proposal was passed that:

  • Defined, for purposes of the tryout rule and camps and clinics legislation, a prospective men’s basketball student-athlete as a person who has begun the seventh grade.

2009 – Proposals were passed that:

  • Required specific criteria for an institution to subscribe to a recruiting or scouting service.
  • Changed the definition of men’s basketball recruit to include anyone who has been asked by an institution to attend the school’s camp or clinic, has been provided recruiting materials, has had recruiting contact with the coaching staff, has received a verbal offer of aid or has verbally committed to an institution.
  • Allowed recruiting during institutional camps and clinics.
  • Required institutions to declare involved prospects ineligible with violations related to tryouts and camps and clinics and required institutions to notify the prospects of the eligibility situation and the consequences.

Additionally, the Legislative Council is still considering a proposal that would:

  • Prohibit institutions from hosting nonscholastic men’s basketball events.

2010 – Proposals are under consideration that would:

  • Allow coaches to attend nonscholastic events on weekends during the April recruiting period.
  • Require the NCAA national office to publish a quarterly list of allowable recruiting and scouting services.
  • Extend the April contact period.