NCAA Focuses On Recruiting Reforms

Last week the NCAA Board of Directors took a look at a handful of proposals that will affect the recruiting game. Camp employment, scouting services and "package deals" are among the main issues in the new reform package.

The NCAA is cracking down.

After a summer of complaints from college coaches the NCAA is taking steps to try and eliminate the money trail to people associated with prospective student athletes.

"I think there's been enough frustration expressed by coaches," Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel said. "I think there's been so much frustration and it all just hit a head. I think this summer some people saw some stuff and some things happened and there needed to be some action taken."

Last week the Division I Board of Directors approved a handful of proposals. Among the main issues at hand have to do with the employment relating to noncoaching staff positions, subscriptions services that provide little info and donations to nonprofit organizations.

"I think it's great," Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. "I really do. I feel like there's such an unfair advantage out there for the schools that are willing to pay crazy amounts of money to guys that aren't doing anything but trying to get their guys to the school."

"I think it's really good for college basketball," Capel said of about the new reform package. "I think it helps the coaches out. I just think it helps the state of the game out tremendously."

The Board also discussed proposals to be introduced into the 2009-10 legislative cycle that target "package deals" These issues include the hiring of individuals associated with prospects or "package deals" as well as camp employment.

While the new reform package is certainly something that has majority of the coaching industry pleased, there still are some grey areas and some issues that need to be discussed.

What about the legit coaches?

The NCAA is trying to eliminate the infamous "package deals" in college basketball.

They've been well documented in countless stories, mostly in a bad light. But what about the high school coaches that are legitimized? What about the guys like Scott Pera, who is clearly a talented assistant coach?

See Pera was the high school coach of NBA draft pick James Harden. Prior to Harden making his college decision, Pera was hired as Arizona State's Director of Basketball Operations. Two months later, Harden gave ASU a verbal commitment.

"It's always been an interesting deal with me," Pera said. "I know originally why Herb [Sendek] started talking to me. I understood that. I also know that there were four or five other opportunities for me to be a division-I assistant."

Pera wasn't your average high school coach. This is a guy that won high school state championships not only at Lakewood (Calif.) Artesia, but also in Pennsylvania. He was proven as a coach.

"Pera was an intense and energetic sideline coach that maximized the talents of the players on his high school squads," long time west coast scout and camp organizer Dinos Trigonis said. "James Harden and Derek Glasser are two great examples of this."

With the NCAA's new proposal that aims at not allowing individuals associated with prospects to be hired two years before or after the prospect's actual or anticipated enrollment, Pera wouldn't have been able to make his jump to the college ranks.

"In my situation it's obviously disappointing because I think there are very, very good high school coaches out there, that now whether their guy would or wouldn't come with them don't have the opportunity to move up," Pera said.

"The problem is just like everything else in our business," he added. "There are good guys and good things and good reasons things are done, and then there are bad people, bad things and corrupt things on why things are done."

This proposal is still being evaluated with a vote expect sometime next year.

Coaches Tired Of Being Held Hostage

One of the proposals that the Board passed has to do with scouting services.

The NCAA document states they will "eliminate the funneling of money to people associated with prospects through subscriptions to recruiting services with limited value."

Well what exactly does that mean and how do you define being associated with prospects? If you run a camp does that consider you associated with prospects? If you're a coach and you provide a service that produces value, can you still run a service?

These are all concerns that college coaches and others in the industry have expressed. Clearly there are things to be ironed out, but college coaches are welcoming this proposal.

"You feel almost obligated if you want to stay in a kids recruitment but I can also say that we've never gotten a kid over these coaches that have asked us to purchase their scouting reports," Mack said. "I knew it, but you felt shut out if you weren't subscribing to their scouting report."

Basically the NCAA is trying to eliminate AAU coaches and other people "associated with prospects" that run scouting services with little information from holding the coaches hostage.

"The sad thing is there are college coaches out there that are buying multiple reports from the same guy and have had different people pay for them. It's a good rule that's been put in place, because that type of stuff doesn't need to happen.

No More Outside Counselors?

For years aspiring coaches have worked college camps. It's a start for many in the profession. It's a way to get your foot in the door.

But not for long.

The NCAA has already voted to eliminate the practice of paying coaches and people associated with prospects to work their camps. In April they'll take a closer look at only allowing programs to hire its staff and enrolled students at camp.

This particular issue touches close to home with Capel.

"I do think that outside people should be able to work camp," Capel said. "Now if there's a connection to an AAU program I understand that, but it's just I may not have been able to get into the profession if it weren't for working camps when I was trying to get in as an assistant."

Capel worked camps at Old Dominion and Duke. His dad – Jeff Capel, Sr., was a big camp worker too, and now works in the Charlotte Bobcats front office.

"My father when he broke into college coaching as an assistant at Wake Forest it was because he'd worked camp and taken his teams to team camp," he added. "So I'm a little bit on the fence there with certain things, but the other reform I'm all for it."

The proposal eliminating nonstaff and students working camps will still require a vote early next year.

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