SALT LAKE CITY — The Pac-12 has released the recommendations of a task force it created to propose reforms to college basketball. The group favors the elimination of the “one and done” rule, “tougher enforcement independent from the NCAA,” and “sweeping changes” to recruiting rules.
The task force, which includes Utah athletics director Chris Hill, was created after last fall’s federal indictments in college basketball. The group produced a 50-page report that was unanimously approved by the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors.
It’s now available to the public online at Pac-12.com/taskforce. The proposals have also been forwarded to the NCAA commission chaired by Condoleezza Rice, which is also studying possible reforms.
“I think 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,” Hill said. “And I think that’s where we are. I think we accomplished that in regards to getting them some of our guidance.”
Hill added that he has spoken with members of the national committee and they didn’t volunteer to do so without making sure they made some substantive changes.
In releasing its report, the Pac-12 announced that the “proposed reforms, intended to improve compliance and reduce abuses associated with the influence of commercial third parties” break into four areas — NCAA eligibility, NCAA enforcement practices, recruitment practices and compliance education for prospective student-athletes and their families.
“The reforms proposed by our Pac-12 task force will help preserve the integrity of collegiate basketball and provide the choice, education and protection that our student-athletes deserve,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “We look forward to working with the NCAA commission, our fellow conferences, the NBA and its players association, and other key stakeholders to bring about this much-needed change.”
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero also had a statement in the announcement.
“Now is the time to step up and make changes to both restore trust in our game and protect the best interest of our student-athletes,” he said. “We need to reform our rules, strengthen their enforcement and rebuild confidence, both in the integrity of our sport and of the educational mission of our universities.”
The task force recommendations include:
• End “one and done” and preserve eligibility for athletes who are drafted but don’t sign. The Pac-12 is asking the NBA to drop its ban on drafting players coming straight from high school. It also includes a request for the NBA not to draft players who choose college until three years after their high school graduation. The rules would be similar to baseball.
• Create a new enforcement unit independent of the NCAA. The Pac-12 group recommends the creation of a unit “to conduct investigations and pursue major violations.” That includes the separation of enforcement roles — investigative, adjudicative and punitive — as well as an investment in resources.
• Take control of and regulate the recruitment process. A recommendation to shift “the recruiting process away from independent tournaments run by shoe/apparel companies and other promoters.” In their place, the NCAA and other organizations would sponsor “regional combine events.” Proposed reforms also include more transparency when it comes to campus visits and who is funding them.
• Fully disclose shoe/apparel deals. This includes disclosure of ”the terms of shoe and apparel contracts with coaches and universities.”
• Provide access to professional agents and strengthen education. The creation of “educational programs aimed at ensuring youngsters and their families don’t — either through inadvertence or poor advice — squander their chances for a potentially life-changing scholarship.” The recommendation would allow access to professional guidance from agents and a mentorship program for elite high school players.
The Pac-12’s task force also noted that university compliance programs could be strengthened and assist student-athletes from running “afoul of the rules.” This would include guidance in terms of engagement with agents and the decision to pursue a professional career.
“The task force can be very proud of this accomplishment. They have produced bold, specific and actionable recommendations in a very short time,” Scott added in the announcement. “I am confident that these recommendations will receive wide support, and we look forward to working with the NCAA and our colleagues across all sports to make these ideas a reality and restore public confidence in the great game of college basketball.”
Hill noted that there has to be sweeping reforms in college basketball.
“I think there has to be,” he said. “I don't think there’s really an option.”
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