Coach Dave Odom Speaks About The Landmark Decision

Coach Dave Odom met with the media by conference call this afternoon to discuss the NCAA's abolishment of the 8/5 rule and the implementation of the Incentives/Disincentives package. Here is what Coach Odom had to say with regard to this landmark decision that he was such a huge part of ...

Coach Dave Odom - SEC Coach of the Year

See NCAA Web site for details. ( http://www.ncaa.org/ )

On the decision to abolish the 8/5 rule and implement the Incentives/Disincentives package.

"From my standpoint I certainly applaud the board of directors and the management council for their decision ... I extend a special note of thanks to President Miles Brand for his work with the Coaches' Association."

On the details of the package and how it will affect college basketball.

"As far as the disincentive package ... it's been worked on for well over a year and it has been well thought out. It's time for all of us to embrace it's intent. It is time for everyone to understand the new regulations and work toward meeting those each and every year. These are not penalties, it should be looked upon as safeguards for graduation - something that will ensure their education. This is done to help us have a better sport and help us individually to be more responsible students. I'm really looking forward to plugging our team into the system."

On the abolishment of the 8/5 rule.

"When the rule was passed it was well intentioned, but perhaps it was not well received and maybe for some good reasons. Overall it really put some barriers into place of certain programs and certain coaches that were not responsible for their programs being in a certain situation to begin with. Any number of situations could occur that would make it almost inhuman to have to work under that system. Everybody is dead even again, it puts everybody back on the same footing. With the new incentive/disincentive package there was no longer any need for the 8/5 rule. It's a great day for college basketball. We all have the same challenge now ... to improve our game through academics ... we must administer this rule through great ethics ... we have been given the opportunity to show that this ruling is justified."

On signing more than two or three players for this next class.

"Well, it's obviously there is going to be a flurry of phone calls between now and Monday. Tomorrow is the last legal travel day for recruiting. To be able to fill, in our case, an additional two. We either would have had to anticipate this rule being passed and lined up the extra people to do it ... we have been out there and are interested in a small pocket of players that we are interested in recruiting. I am not sure we would fill ... our biggest needs would be in a post man, or perhaps two post men, and then look at other perimeter options. That last scholarship we would probably not make a decision on that in the next seven to ten days until we get at least one post man signed and then I will put a great deal of effort into trying to get another post man signed."

"My guess is that we will have other recruiting efforts well into May. We may hold onto that other scholarship until next year ... be able to give out four next year. That certainly would be a possibility that I would exercise if we don't find someone to fill that other scholarship."

Will the incentives/disincentives package be a good thing or bad thing for basketball and how will he approach it?

"The package is called incentives/disincentives and the focus should not be on disincentives. We're going to focus on things that put us in favor with the NCAA. We're going to try to build up points and not always working from the rear trying to work up a clean bill of health."

On the current state of college basketball.

"I do feel that's what happened over the course of ten or twelves years - I feel like things have changed but I am not sure it has changed for the better ... that formula for determining graduation rates is somewhat archaic ... it needs to be adjusted. We know that the graduation rates in men's basketball has been absymal it really has. It just bothers me that the generation of coaches before us handed the game of basketball to us in good shape. The game has deteriorated somewhat and we've got to get a handle on it in order to redirect the game in the right direction."

What areas was he most concerned about with regards to the way graduation rates were calculated by the NCAA.

"There were really three areas that were really bothersome. If a player leaves your program voluntary and in good academic standing and was eligible to participate the next season ... provided he was eligible to participate academically. The things that led to his transfer should not have been counted against you. the other area that really bothered everybody that left in good academic standing and left for the NBA or Europe ... I felt that should not be held against you. There was no stipulation in these rules that allowed for a concession for an untimely death. That's a tragic thing ... I mean it was a life or death situation. One I did bring up in our last meeting ... suppose a player plays all four years and then is contacted by an agent and then six months or a couple of months before graduating ... we lose all control of his situation and it is counted against us. It's a sorry situation when we see a kid who only has to take his final exams but drops out early to go to the NBA."

How will the new rules affect recruiting?

"We've got to do a better job of educating the high school counselors and high school coaches and do a better job of making them aware that we are under a different arrangement now. They will do a better job of getting involved with their students at an earlier age ... it is incumbent to we as coaches to make sure we get to these potential prospects sooner and if we even think they are possibles we have to evaluate their transcripts sooner and hope that we can get them involved. Suddenly the hype of the NBA, the kids seeing the slam dunks and the alley oops and the three point shots and the fall-a-ways ... that's what the kids focus on We've got to do a better job of making sure these kids know that the number of guys that are going to be on Sports Center are in the smallest of minorities. We've got to make them focus on more of the David Robertsons instead of how these guys dress and the hair they wear and the baggy pants and stuff like that ... but those kind of things take so much time and so much attention from the things that are real and long lasting. We gotta make doing the right thing fashionable again."

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