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DI Leadership Council continues basketball recruiting discussion

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

The Division I Leadership Council moved closer to making recommendations aimed at improving the men’s basketball recruiting environment. The discussion will continue over the next several months, with legislation possible for the 2011-12 cycle.

Council members, who met April 4 in Houston, reviewed the work of two of the group’s subcommittees – the Men’s Basketball Recruiting Subcommittee and the Focus on Access and Success Working Group. The groups are chaired by Morgan Burke, athletics director at Purdue, and Robin Harris, executive director of the Ivy League. The Council also heard from two panels of coaches, two nonscholastic event operators, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and two groups organized by commissioners.

The subcommittees outlined several principles and concepts that the Council will keep front-of-mind when making legislative recommendations later this year:

  • Providing opportunities for earlier access to prospects, their coaches and parents/legal guardians.
  • Increasing opportunities for more direct access to prospects, their coaches and parents/legal guardians during academic-year evaluation periods.
  • Providing greater opportunities for access to prospects, while maintaining the 130 recruiting days that currently exist.
  • Establishing an objective measure of academic readiness/preparedness that must be satisfied before an institution may expend recruiting funds to provide an official visit to a prospect.
  • Modifying the current official visit legislation to minimize the need for unofficial visits.

Many of the groups (including the subcommittees and the coaches and commissioners groups) discovered that they agreed on some concepts, including allowing official visits earlier in a prospective student-athlete’s high school career, consideration of allowing for on-campus evaluations, and relaxing rules governing phone calls and electronic communication.

Another concept that several groups supported was shortening the July evaluation period and adding some evaluation time in April.

These concepts and others need fine-tuning and will continue to be discussed at both the subcommittee level and with the full Council. The subcommittees will continue to work separately, and both groups will seek input from the SAAC. Preserving student-athlete well-being and increasing parental involvement were identified by several of the groups as important conditions on any rules changes that might arise.

The men’s basketball recruiting discussion was prompted by a call from conference commissioners to eliminate the summer recruiting period. The Division I Board of Directors declined to create immediate legislation to that effect, but did ask that the issue be studied. In January, the Council heard presentations from various constituencies, including the high school and youth basketball community, commissioners and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

The Council will meet this summer. The Board of Directors asked for the Council’s legislative recommendations by the end of October.