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Council approves women’s basketball recruiting model

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

The Division I Leadership Council approved a new women’s basketball recruiting model that will go to the Board of Directors for consideration Saturday. 

Women’s basketball 
recruiting concepts

• Eliminate all restrictions on modes of communication beginning Sept. 1 before the junior year in high school.

• Add a weekend of evaluation at certified nonscholastic events in April and prohibit the evaluation period from falling on Easter weekend.

• Allow communication with recruits and off-campus contacts beginning Sept. 1 before or of the recruit’s junior year in high school.

• Move the start date for the September contact period a week earlier.

• Confine off-campus contacts during the junior year only to the prospect’s residence or educational institution.

• Allow recruiting opportunities with juniors and seniors to be either contacts or evaluations, but prohibit contacts while classes are in session or on the day of an athletics competition for the prospect.

• Allow official visits beginning the Thursday after the national championship game of the prospect’s junior year. Official visits would be permitted during the summer, but not during dead or July evaluation periods. Schools would be allowed to pay for travel expenses for the student-athlete and two parents or legal guardians.

• Allow tryouts. 

• Create a summer-access model that requires enrollment in summer school or a certain level of academic achievement for student-athletes to participate in eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning and skill instruction (two-hour limit on skill instruction) for an eight-week period in the summer. An institution’s summer school schedule would dictate access (for example, a six-week summer school session would permit participation in athletics activities for six weeks), unless the student-athlete achieves academic benchmarks. 

The model includes changes in rules governing communication with prospects, off-campus contacts, official visits, on-campus evaluations and the creation of a summer academic-access model.

The group considered removing the Sept. 1 start date for recruiting contacts from the package to await the final decision on a Rules Working Group proposal for a uniform recruiting start date for all sports. However, the Council ultimately decided to forward the whole package.

 “I hope the changes advance the sport in the manner the coaches had intended when they started out on this project,” said Myndee Kay Larson, senior associate commissioner of the Summit League and chief liaison between the subcommittee and the Leadership Council. “I hope the new model makes recruiting really simple and effective for both coaches and prospects.”

If adopted by the Board, the new recruiting model for women’s basketball will be effective Aug. 1, 2013, except for the summer-access portion, which will be effective immediately.

In other business, the Council noted the good work of the Rules Working Group and endorsed the adoption of all but one of its proposals. 

The Council recommended the Board of Directors ask the Rules Working Group to reconsider a uniform start date for recruiting. The working group has drafted a proposal that would move the start date for recruiting in all sports to July 1 after a prospect’s sophomore year. 

The Council noted some concern about the one-size-fits-all approach that might pressure recruits to commit earlier. The proposal was intended to allow coaches to develop stronger relationships with prospects and possibly eliminate some of the negative third-party influence on the process. 

“We believe the proposal has merit. We just need to figure out the details and determine a way to make it best work for both coaches and prospects,” said Council chair Noreen Morris, commissioner of the Northeast Conference. “We didn’t want to go forward with legislation that didn’t have national consensus.”

The Leadership Council’s take differed from that of the Legislative Council, which recommended Wednesday that the proposal move forward to the Board for adoption. 

If the Board agrees to delay the proposal, the Leadership Council requested that the matter be addressed quickly so it could be resolved as early as the Board’s spring or summer meetings.