Condoleezza Rice-led panel calls for ending NBA's 'one-and-done' rule and life-time to college coaches caught cheating, but doesn't address the NCAA's 'amateur' model.
The Commission on College Basketball’s long-awaited recommendations mirrored the Pac-12’s proposals from a similar report last month to rid men’s college basketball of the scandal that rocked the sport last season.
The independent 12-person commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and including NBA greats David Robinson and Grant Hill and former Georgetown coach John Thompson, released a 60-page report Wednesday, seven months after the group was established by the NCAA in response to a federal investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball.
“We are particularly pleased that many of the Rice Commission’s recommendations parallel those of the Pac-12 Task Force, which were unanimously embraced by our Conference’s 12 presidents and chancellors in March,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement released by the conference. “We look forward to working with the NCAA and our members to evaluate and implement the recommendations.”
The Commission’s report says “the state of men’s college basketball is deeply troubled. The levels of corruption and deception are now at a point that they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it.”
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The recommendations, which need NCAA approval, called for an end to the NBA’s “one-and-done” rule, allowing players to return to school if they go undrafted by the NBA and allowing certified agents to talk with high school players and advise them on their pro prospects.
In response to the recommendation, the NBA and NBA Players Association issued a joint statement reading, in part, “We support NCAA policy and enforcement reforms that will better safeguard the well-being of players while imposing greater accountability on representatives and programs that fail to uphold the values of the game. We also share the Commission’s concern with the current state of youth basketball and echo that all stakeholders — including the NBA, NBPA, NCAA, and USA Basketball — have a collective responsibility to help bring about positive change. Regarding the NBA’s draft eligibility rules, the NBA and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game.”
If the NBA declines to abandon one-and-done, Rice said, the panel would re-convene and consider ending freshman eligibility.
The panel also proposed tougher penalties for NCAA rules violations including getting rid of coaches who cheat by banning them for life, financial transparency from shoe and apparel companies and replacing the summer-league basketball circuit that’s dominated by Nike, Adidas and Under Amour with events run by the NCAA, USA Basketball or the NBA.
“Today’s announcement from the Commission on College Basketball is a necessary step to addressing the issues our game faces in light of the Department of Justice investigation,” said Jim Haney, executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). “We were fully supportive of the Commission’s formation and its charge, and knew impactful change was coming.”
Absent in the report is any significant change to the NCAA’s current ‘amateur” model, which has drawn criticism from those who favor increasing compensation for players. Currently, the NCAA forbids student-athletes from earning money on their name/image/likeness – a violation that would put their eligibility in danger.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said he wants the recommendations voted into action before the start of the fall semester
“We thus offer these recommendations to try and get back on course,” said Rice, who is a former Secretary of State and was once a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee. “Some may disagree with the recommendations made here. Our focus has been to strengthen the collegiate model – not to move toward one that brings aspects of professionalism into the game.”
The Commission on College Basketball formed a few weeks after federal prosecutors announced they had charged 10 men – including assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, USC and Oklahoma State along with a top Adidas executive – in a fraud and bribery scandal.
The case involves hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged bribes and kickbacks designed to influence recruits on choosing a school, agent or apparel company. And it has entangled schools such as Kansas, North Carolina State, Louisville and Miami , among others, though prosecutors withdrew a criminal complaint in Feburary against one of the defendants, a youth hoops program director.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.