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Volume 25 No. 151
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Will Rice Commission Lead To Significant Change In College Hoops?

Reviewing the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball and its impact moving forward was the main talking point for a panel discussion between college hoops execs on Day 2 of the ’18 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. Hofstra Special Assistant to the President for Athletics Jeff Hathaway, a member of the Rice Commission, believes the report’s recommendations have been “taken very seriously” throughout college basketball. He said, “There are real things in the commission report that are making an impact on basketball. We all understand it’s not going to turn on a dime.” His main focus is trying to create a “culture change” in the sport. Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade said “accountability and transparency” within the NCAA are two of the most important things that have happened in the last year. McGlade was also pleased with the speed of action in response to the report. Former Georgetown coach John Thompson III, who now serves on the National Association of Basketball Coaches BOD and was also part of the Rice Commission, said there will "always be corruption” in college basketball, as it is just the “nature of the beast” with so many stakeholders involved, mentioning the NCAA, NBA, NBPA, shoe companies and agents as part of the ecosystem. Thompson wants to start a better dialogue “among all of those entities.” Northwestern AD Jim Phillips said there “will always be some sinister behavior in college basketball,” but believes NCAA-certified agents will help student-athletes in deciding when and if to turn pro. Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman thinks new regulations requiring university presidents and ADs to certify their programs as being NCAA rules-compliant will help keep school leadership accountable.

MONEY GAME: Thompson believes the issue of student-athletes being able to monetize their name, image and likeness will be addressed soon. However, he said the pay-for-play notion “did not gain too much traction at all” from the commission. Hathaway agreed, saying there was “no appetite for pay-for-play at all.” He did say there was movement to “set up the professional pathway” for elite players, although he noted the NBA is still several years from lowering its draft-eligibility age. Phillips wants to continue providing the best experience possible for the majority of student-athletes who will not turn pro, but believes all the power players in basketball need to work together to provide pro options for those who will.

QUICK HIT:

  • Thompson: “There’s been corruption in college basketball since two weeks after Dr. Naismith nailed in the first peach basket.”