INDIANAPOLIS -- College basketball coaches no longer have to shy away from potential recruits during summer camps and clinics on their own campus.
On Tuesday, the NCAA's Legislative Council announced it would allow coaches to have "recruiting discussions" on campus, loosening a rule that was nearly impossible to enforce anyway. The change does not mean coaches can go into full recruiting mode, but they can converse with players they are actually recruiting.
The changes must still be approved by the NCAA's Board of Directors, which meets later this month. The proposal does not distinguish between head coaches or assistants.
"The coach cannot give them campus tours and do the kinds of things that they would do on an official visit," said Steve Mallonee, the NCAA's managing director of academic and membership affairs. "We wanted to eliminate some of the third-party influence in recruiting."
The proposals intended to clean up college basketball recruiting gained traction in October when the board unanimously endorsed a package of changes. Some were adopted. Others did not survive the NCAA's rigorous legislative process.
The council considered more than 30 proposals during a two-day meeting this week and passed more than 20, including an amended package that creates new testing requirements for the sickle cell genetic trait that has been linked to the deaths of some athletes.
Most of today's newborns now undergo the test, which many states were offering in 1998. Some of today's college athletes, however, have not been tested and the NCAA recommended last June that all athletes be tested.
The recommendation came as part of lawsuit settlement with the family of a former Rice football player who died.
On Tuesday, the council decided to give athletes three options: Take the test, provide documentation they have been tested or sign a release to decline the test.
"We as a council felt very confident after we had taken the vote that certainly the vote shows the support of the council as well as the membership for the health, welfare and well-being of the student-athlete while also providing for the ability to opt out of the test if for some reason they have concerns about taking the test," said Joe D'Antonio, the committee chairman and senior associate commissioner of the Big East.
On recruiting, the council also defeated a proposal that would have banned all "outside" coaches or athletes from working at the summer camps or clinics.
The council decided to stick with the current language, which bars the hiring of all people "involved" with a recruit. It is a broad enough definition to include high school coaches, family members and AAU coaches, and coaches who do not have a player being recruited by the school could still at work the summer events.
"If the original proposal had passed the ability of high school coaches to be employed at the camp or clinic would have gone away," D'Antonio said. "So the governance of individuals involved with prospects will revert back to the previously issued interpretation."
The council also rejected legislation that would have eliminated one game from the men's and women's basketball seasons but approved two other portions of the proposal. One requires faculty athletic representatives or faculty councils to approve men's basketball schedules. The other requires men's basketball teams to return to campus within 24 hours of a game.
The council also passed legislation requiring "deserving" bowl-eligible teams to post a .500 record against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents; delayed the effective date of charging an athlete, who played with professional teammates, a season of eligibility for each year he or she does not enroll in college after one year of high school graduation; defeated legislation that would have eliminated all printed media guides; and eliminated the number of phone calls that can be made during contact periods in all sports that have an established recruiting calendar, with the exception of football.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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