By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
Division I men’s basketball recruiting rules could get a makeover as early as 2012, depending on recommendations that come from the Leadership Council in the coming months.
The January Council meeting will be the first since the Board of Directors directed the group to study the sport’s recruiting model.
The directive came after the Collegiate Commissioners Association asked the Board to both abandon summer recruiting in men’s basketball immediately and to study the overall recruiting environment, described by some as “toxic.” While the Board declined to take hasty action without a full study, the presidents did agree that the issue needs a complete examination.
Board Chair Judy Genshaft, president of South Florida, said the men’s basketball recruiting process is unique, especially at the higher levels where the process has shifted from the high schools and toward third parties.
“In many instances, recruiting is influenced by youth team coaches, sports agents, shoe company representatives and others,” Genshaft said. “In my opinion, these parties don’t always have the prospect’s best interests in mind.”
Genshaft said she hopes to shift the mindset of many prospective student-athletes away from becoming a professional athlete and toward earning a college degree. She said the presidents on the Board believed that the “thoughtful and experienced administrators” on the Leadership Council, along with other constituencies the Council consults in its study, can provide the best recommendations for a comprehensive recruiting model for Board – and membership – consideration.
Mike Alden, athletics director at Missouri, chairs the Leadership Council and will guide the group through its study and toward recommendations. He sees the same issues as Genshaft: The traditional high school coach no longer plays the vital role in the process, and “outside influencers” are much more prominent.
“The charge from the Board was very clear,” Alden said, “and that is to use our network, our knowledge base and the staff of the NCAA – use the resources throughout the country of people who have a good grasp of this part of our industry – and develop a model that is different than what we use today.”
Alden said the Council will examine the history of men’s basketball recruiting and attempt to learn from what has worked and what hasn’t. Members will involve coaches, coaching organizations, and other entities inside and outside of the NCAA. He said that includes the “third party influencers,” who are vital in informing the way the sport and its recruiting process functions.
“If we try to do this without at least getting some information from these folks, you are ostracizing them and making it more challenging,” Alden said, counting iHoops youth basketball officials and sponsors of various events as those the Council would consult. Alden acknowledged that the task before him and the Council is challenging. He said the group would try to examine the issue with an open mind and that nothing, including the elimination of summer recruiting, is non-negotiable.
“Everything is on the table, whether it’s summer recruiting or its elimination, how you communicate with student-athletes, the entire recruiting calendar. Everything is out there,” he said.
Like Genshaft, Alden said the ultimate purpose of the exercise is to recalibrate the goals of those involved with men’s basketball toward the educational component.
“We’re not here for the grooming of athletes. We’re here for the grooming of students,” Alden said. “Our hope would be at the end of this to come up with a process that aligns more with the values we hold true in higher education.”
The end of the process will come later this year since the Board gave the Council a full year to come up with recommendations. Genshaft said the aggressive timeline, at least by NCAA standards, was necessary
“The issues with men’s basketball recruiting don’t seem to be getting any better,” Genshaft said. “As a matter of fact, the issues seem to be getting worse with each recruiting cycle. There has been talk of addressing this for quite some time, and there is a sense that these problems need immediate focus.”
Alden said the timeframe was “do-able.” Substantive changes would need to be formed as legislation, which could be adopted by the Board as emergency legislation or sent through the regular legislative cycle. In the latter case, the earliest legislation would be adopted would be April 2012.
The Council will begin its work on the issue at its Jan. 13 meeting at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio. A number of stakeholders will attend the meeting, as well, including representatives from the CCA, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the National Federation of State High School Associations, Black Coaches and Administrators, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and iHoops.
A summary of legislative changes in the last decade related to Division I men’s basketball recruiting.
2000 – Proposals were passed that:
2001 – Proposals were passed that:
2002 – Proposals were passed that:
2003 – Proposals were passed that:
2004 – Proposals were passed that:
2005 – A proposal was passed that:
2006 – No men’s basketball-specific recruiting proposals
2007 – A proposal was passed that:
2008 – A proposal was passed that:
2009 – Proposals were passed that:
Additionally, the Legislative Council is still considering a proposal that would:
2010 – Proposals are under consideration that would: