NCAA Commission on College Basketball Makes Strong Statement, Recommendations
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As the dark shadow of scandal after scandal at glamour programs destroyed confidence in the goose that laid the golden eggs of college basketball, the NCAA put together a commission aimed at suggestions to clean up the sport.
This prized panel on the state of the game was headed by the one-time Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, thinking anyone who could deal with Putin and Castro and Assad could find a diplomatic solution to all that ailed a sport that was rife with academic fraud, recruiting infractions that bordered upon needing the vice squad to squash and a set of rules that made millionaires out of so many at the expense of unpaid players unable to cash in on their ability or fame.
The much-anticipated report came out on Wednesday and it quickly verified the seriousness of the problems facing the game.
“In brief, it is the overwhelming assessment of the commission that the state of men’s college basketball is deeply troubled. The levels of corruption and deception are now at point where they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it.”
Think of what that just said. The state of the game is “deeply troubled” and “corruption and deception are now at a point where they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it.”
That is serious stuff and the solutions are neither quick nor easy.
The problem isn’t in the minor “he said, you said” problems, but in the major transgressions such as at North Carolina with its academic scandal or Louisville with its recruiting scandal.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Rice said the current system built around peer participation from member schools works in most cases. But it’s those major multi-year cases, she said, where Rice told the Associated Press in those instances “the NCAA gets outgunned, people start lawyering up, they stop cooperating,” leaving the organization “in a situation where it has responsibility, but it doesn’t have authority,” she said.
The commission suggests for what are major violations outside investigation is necessary along with a strong increase in the severity of penalties
The commission proposes any number of changes in area of enforcement and punishment, but it also tries to get at the root of the problems right from the beginning in areas that well might affect WVU, which has kept its slate clean and which Coach Bob Huggins assures will not show up in the investigation of the sport currently being conducted by the FBI.
It’s first proposal is to do with the one-and-done rule that goes against everything college basketball really is.
“We need to put the college back in college basketball,” Rice maintains.
And this begins with allowing 18 years to go directly from high school into the NBA draft.
“The one-and-done regime may have provided some benefits for the NBA and the NCAA in the past but all stakeholders agree that the downsides now outweigh any benefits,” the report reads. “One-and-done has played a significant role in corrupting and destabilizing college basketball, restrict the freedom of choice of players and undermining the relationship of college basketball to the mission of higher education.”
What it does in many cases with elite players is forces them to attend college for a year even though they have no plans of attaining a degree while lured agents, apparel companies, investment advisors, college coaches and others to seek “to profit from their skills” by offering cash and other benefits in hope of future gains.
At the same time it wants to allow players to go from high school to the NBA, it also wants college players to be allowed to enter the NBA draft and return to college if not drafted unless “they sign a professional contract”.
The player, in this case, must return to the same school and must request an evaluation from the NBA on their skills.
This directly affects the situation WVU’s Sagaba Konate is now faced with as he works out for the NBA and mulls his future.
Part of the problem, the report notes, is that young players overestimate their chances of having a professional career.
“Elite high school and college basketball players tend to misjudge their professional prospects,” it reads. “Players who think they are surefire professionals are often mistaken. The numbers tell this story: Only a very small percentage of NCAA men’s basketball players make it to the NBA (around 1.2%), let alone have successful careers.
“Yet, an NCAA survey we commissioned showed that 59% of Division 1 players believe that they will play professional and NCAA research suggests that 76% of Division I players, 48% of Division II players and 21% of Division III players believe they have a chance to play at the next level.”
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A look at the recommendations from the Commission on College Basketball:
— Work with the NBA to lift the league’s so-called one-and-done rule that requires players be at least 19 years old and a year removed from high school to be draft eligible.
— Allow players to enter the draft out of high school or after any college season, and to return to their school if they go undrafted.
— Create degree completion programs, with the NCAA paying for players to finish their degree if they complete at least two years of college.
— Create a vice presidential level position in the NCAA to oversee a program for certifying agents.
— Allow and encourage access to certified agents to high school and college players to help athletes and their families make more informed choices about professional opportunities.
— Create independent investigative and adjudicative body to address and resolve complex and serious cases involving NCAA violations.
— Impose stiffer penalties for serious rules violations to deter future rule-breakers, including: Increased competition penalties for Level I violations to allow a five-year post-season ban; increased financial penalties for Level I violations to allow loss of all revenue sharing in postseason play for the entire period of the ban; increased penalties for a show-cause order to allow lifetime bans; increased penalties for head coach restrictions to allow bans of more than one season; increased penalties for recruiting visit violations to allow full-year visit bans.
— Schools that employ a coach and administrator under a show-cause order from a previous school would be at risk to receive the harshest penalties if NCAA violations occur under that coach or administrator.
— Through their contracts, require coaches and athletic directors to comply with NCAA investigations.
— Require coaches, athletic directors and university presidents to certify annually they have conducted due diligence and their athletic programs comply with NCAA rules.
— Adopt and enforce rigorous criteria for so-called non-scholastic basketball, such as summer recruiting events and AAU leagues. Event owners, sponsors and coaches must agree to financial transparency.
— Ban college coaches from non-certified non-scholastic basketball events.
— Work with USA basketball and the NBA to create NCAA-run recruiting events in the summer.
— Work with USA Basketball and the NBA to evaluate pre-college players.
— Adopt recommended rule changes made by the National Association of Basketball Coaches that increase interaction between college coaches and recruits.
— Add five public members with full voting privileges to the NCAA Board of Governors, currently comprised of 16 university presidents.