A Pac-12 task force created in the wake of the FBI-college hoops scandal yesterday revealed its recommendations, including "changes to the recruiting process, increased enforcement and the adoption of college baseball rules, by which players turn pro out of high school or enter college for at least three years," according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. The task force recommends that the NBA end the one-and-done rule, and players who enter college "must stay at least three years." If they "declare for the draft but don’t sign with a team, they could return to college with eligibility intact." This is "entirely dependent upon support" from the NBA and the NBPA, but Commissioner Adam Silver has "acknowledged the need to change the system." The task force also recommends that independent of the NCAA, a "well-resourced enforcement unit would pursue major violations and broken into three sub-groups: investigative, adjudicative and punitive." As far as recruiting, the recommendation is to "remove the AAU system, so deeply corrupted by the shoe/apparel [companies] and agents, from the recruiting process." Shoe and apparel contracts will have "full disclosure by universities and the coaches." The task force recommends to "start making recruits, and their families, aware of the rules early in high school" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 3/13). Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott credited the group for suggesting "bold, specific and actionable" reforms (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 3/14).
PROTECT THE PLAYER: NBC Sports Bay Area’s Ray Ratto said ending the one-and-done rule “might be logical from a college standpoint but the agents have a place at the table and the NBA has a place at the table." He added, "The big stumbling block is the idea that if you want to come out of high school and play and it turns out you can't because you're not good enough, if you opt into a college and then you renounce, you should be able to go back to college. But they don't do that now." Ratto: "You're either all in or all out. ... At some point, that’s not going to stand." NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa said, "It’s interesting that the Pac-12 is the driving force on this with their task force. The other conferences have to get behind it" (“The Happy Hour,” NBCS Bay Area, 3/13).
BIG LEAGUE HELP: USA TODAY's George Schroeder noted some of the report’s recommendations "require significant buy-in from the NBA and its players." Within the NCAA, Scott said that a "critical mass may have been reached after the arrests and indictments last fall" of several assistant coaches, agents and an Adidas exec. Scott: "We’ve laid forth an ambitious and bold slate of changes, but I think these times require bold action. I think the time has passed for incrementalism or cosmetic changes. My sense is there is a bias for action among the various pockets of leadership in college athletics, and I think we’ve reached a tipping point with the NBA and the NBA Players Association, as well." The report "does not recommend changes to the NCAA’s amateurism model, either in compensating athletes for use of their names, images and likenesses or in something like the so-called 'Olympic model,' in which players could earn money for endorsements." NCAA President Mark Emmert recently said that he was "open to exploring the Olympic model." Scott said that it "wasn’t within the scope of the task force." Meanwhile, Scott said that he would "like to see the NBA enhance its developmental G League and add youth academies." Those options have been "pitched by various parties, but the NBA’s interest is unclear" (USATODAY.com, 3/13). Scott: "If the NBA isn't willing to make changes like this to the eligibly rules, I think college will have to re-evaluate some other things" (ESPN.com, 3/13).
BIGGER SCALE: YAHOO SPORTS' Pete Thamel noted the NCAA Commission on College Basketball, led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, has also been "tasked to make 'substantive changes to the way we operate' college basketball." The recommendations are "slated to be made in April." Scott said, “There’s a lot of pent-up desire for this extent of reform. We haven’t seen it in the past. I think there’s some quiet optimism. I sense there’s enough of a sense of crisis and need that we’ll get meaningful things done now." Scott said that he shared a preview the Pac-12's findings "in person with Rice two weeks ago." He was also "invited to attend one of the commission’s meetings." Scott: "We certainly get the sense these are many of the areas they’re considering." Scott said that the "tenor of the environment is much different in the wake of the federal investigation." He has noticed a “sense of urgency and bias for action" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/13). In N.Y., Marc Tracy notes the Pac-12 task force’s recommendations "could prove to be a preview of the findings of an NCAA commission" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/14). Utah AD Chris Hill said, "What we wanted to accomplish is to get some more thinking into the national committee, tell them what we thought from our special committee and add it to at least things they would consider. And I think that’s where we are. I think we accomplished that in regards to getting them some of our guidance." He added that there has to be "sweeping reforms in college basketball" (DESERET NEWS, 3/14).
HURTING THE GAME: In Utah, Doug Robinson writes under the header, "NCAA Should Welcome Back Undrafted Players." Besides "hurting the players, the NCAA’s current rules hurt its own game." The quality of college basketball has "suffered immensely from the loss of so many players declaring early for the NBA draft (the quality of the NBA game has suffered, too)." The NCAA’s draft rules are "unfair and nonsensical." They do more to "serve the needs of NBA and NFL teams than college athletes" (DESERET NEWS, 3/14).