On College Basketball and Recruiting

This morning, I was listening to the sports talk show on KFH; the one with Bruce Haertel and Bob Lutz hosting. A topic that was discussed was the current situation involving UConn and possible NCAA rules violations committed by the mens basketball program.

There is no doubt that college sports has become big business, which increases the temptation to bend or break the rules. One of the hosts mentioned the discomfort that many coaches have with the AAU summer basketball programs, as evidenced (apparently by Rick Pitino) by comments made at a post-game media conference. There are some “shady” characters out there involved with these programs, and many wonder whose wallets are being fattened due to their involvement.

I’ve a simple solution. If a player has participated in AAU summer basketball programs, that player is automatically ineligible for an athletic scholarship to any NCAA member institution. I know that this would not happen, as the business of college basketball is too big, and the AAU programs have been the source of players to the big programs.

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5 responses to “On College Basketball and Recruiting

  1. To flesh the above out a bit, with the current NBA draft restrictions, promising professional players are not allowed to go directly to the NBA from high school; they must wait one year after their academic high school class has graduated. This leaves the prospect with the choice of attending college for one year (many of these young folks do not want to nor should they go to college) or playing professionally overseas. Thus, the AAU coaches who might harbor the dream of being an agent of these players need to be sure the players can get to college, or their hoped for payday becomes a mirage.

    Unless the NBA changes its current rule, one, I might add, instituted to allow for better relations with the colleges, making the players ineligible eliminates to some extent, and minimizes at least, the possibility of an AAU coach to misuse his position to line his pockets at the expense of the player.

    The real solution to me is for the NBA to change its policy to one like the one in place for major league baseball: the athlete is eligible to be drafted out of high school. If the player does not sign, and goes to a four year college program, he is not eligible for the draft until after his Junior year. If the player goes to a junior college, he is not eligible until he “graduates” (after two years). In that way, the colleges will be pacified, knowing that a recruited athlete will be in the program three years (let’s face it, not too many NBA players come from the juco ranks), which will reduce the pressure to get the “one and done” players that now exists, and operate as a barrier to the AAU coaches from being able to exploit a Michael Beasley, e.g. for their own purposes.

  2. Interesting post. I was not aware that the AAU program was under scrutiny.

  3. SEKAN, there have been rumblings around “big time” college programs for several years about certain concerns involving the summer AAU basketball programs. I’m not talking, BTW, about the local programs. Rather, the big AAU programs, such as that in DC, which yielded Michael Beasley for KSU, and the top-flight recruit coming in this fall to KSU (last name is Judge), where the participants are not necessarily local, but more national in scope.

    What has been bandied about is that the coaches of some of these programs see their highly talented players as their meal ticket out of their current position by becoming the agent representing the player in negotiations with the NBA, as an example. There have also been naked allegations made (usually whispered) about AAU coaches demanding some special treatment by the colleges in order for the college to be allowed to speak with the player; money, it is rumored, has changed hands in some of these cases; assistant coaching positions at schools have been offered to AAU coaches in the past; and in general, an appearance of impropriety persists in a lot of these matters.

    When someone of the stature of Pitino (I think that’s how his name is spelled) goes public with his concerns, I suggest there is something that is not good going on. These players are already exploited for their talents as it is; it saddens me to think that someone in a “father figure” position would also be exploiting them for his own gain.

    There is no such thing as pure amateurism any more in either big time college football or basketball; the existence of athletic scholarships proves that. Maybe it is time to quit pretending, and get athletics out from under academic institutions. Or, if it is felt that the existence of athletic programs is beneficial to the college experience, adopt the NCAA Division III rules across the board; no athletic scholarships; the student must otherwise be qualified for admission to the school; and participation in athletics is truly an extracurricular event. The problem with this approach is, of course, the scholarships given to e.g., musicians to participate in the highest level orchestras, marching bands, etc. My only response to this is that unlike “student athletes”, musicians are also students; something that is quite often not true when it comes to athletes, especially those with the most talent.

  4. I understand. I know that AAU is very popular in small towns and rural areas.
    Of course each team is only as honest and good for the kids as each individual coach.
    I commend the couple of coaches that I know around here, decent honest guys who love b-ball and are good with the kids. It’s a helluva lot of work (and expense) for them.

  5. prairiepond

    I guess we’ll know the women’s programs have arrived when they start having problems. I think I’ve read of a couple of NCAA violations with the distaff teams, but I cant remember who or when.

    Of course, my beloved UT Lady Longhorns would NEVER do such a thing 🙂