By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
The Division I Leadership Council supported in concept a women’s basketball recruiting model that would allow coaches to build a relationship with recruits and that provides the opportunity for better recruiting decisions.
The Council, which met Thursday, anticipates it will be prepared to make final recommendations to the Board of Directors after its January meeting.
“We want to create a model that can help advance the sport of women’s basketball and help balance the goals of getting prospects matched with programs where they can be successful while continuing to mentor current student-athletes,” said Myndee Kay Larsen, associate commissioner of the Summit League and chair of the Leadership Council Subcommittee that developed the recommendations. “It’s meant to create a natural progression of a coach/player relationship during the recruiting process.”
If the model is adopted by the Board, women’s basketball coaches will be free to contact recruits without many of the current restrictions. The hope is that loosening contact restrictions will allow for a better flow of information between coach and recruit, especially about expectations on both sides.
“We want to create a structure that can help prepare recruits to be productive student-athletes,” Larsen said.
The new model, recommended after a year of study by the Leadership Council and Women’s Basketball Issues Committee, also would add one weekend of recruiting at nonscholastic events in April (with some restrictions, beginning in 2014) and would maintain the rule adopted earlier this year that carves out a total of 14 days of recruiting at nonscholastic events in July. The one recruiting weekend in October would also be maintained.
The review of the women’s basketball model began several years ago, and the effort became more widely debated shortly after the men’s model was adopted in October 2011. For the women, the focus was less on the recruiting environment (as it was for the men) and more on creating a recruiting model that would allow coaches to build a relationship with prospective student-athletes that would allow both parties to make more informed decisions.
To that end, many coaches believe that opening up access to recruits and deregulating the modes of communication will facilitate better decision-making.
Many of the changes within the model run parallel to work being done by the Rules Working Group, which has concentrated on deregulating the Division I Manual overall. For example, the deregulation of modes of communication and numbers of contacts are in line with that group’s work as well.
While the Leadership Council was supportive of many of the concepts presented in the model, some issues remain to be finalized, including when the initial date for contact will be.
In other business, the Council members began an early discussion of transfer regulations for student-athletes transferring from a four-year to a four-year institution. The Council members identified permission to contact rules, the one-time transfer exception and academic concerns as three main areas to explore. A subcommittee will begin work this fall and report back to the Council periodically.