In 2017, Mark Emmert, the President of the NCAA, created the Commission on College Basketball to help monitor, regulate, and prevent compliance issues. Dr. Condoleeza Rice was named Chair of Commission and will be accompanied by other prominent people who have previously or are currently involved with basketball related operations. The Commission includes former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Board of Directors on the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and former collegiate and professional basketball stars including David Robinson and Grant Hill.
The goal of the Commission on College Basketball is to make changes to the system that will help restore and improve the state of college basketball. After doing some research, I would like to dive deeper into the root of some of the issues that have come up over the years and provide some potential solutions that can help purify the college basketball landscape. These potential solutions will discuss how to enhance the student-athletes' college experience with modifications with the "One and Done" rule, the recruiting calendar, access to players, and the National Letter of Intent.
The "One and Done"
Based on numerous interviews I have heard, majority of college coaches feel that if high school players want to go directly to the National Basketball Association (NBA) they should be allowed to do so. By changing the "one and done" rule would help eliminate the players who have no desire to attend college. High school players going directly to the NBA will barely have a negative effect on college basketball. Less than a handful of high school players will be drafted to go pro each year. This will not stop the "one and dones" but it will cause student-athletes to be more committed to fitting into the college environment than those who believe they don't need college at all.
This would also force NBA scouts to attend high school gyms and events to get an accurate feel for the level of talent of high school players with the desire to directly go pro. These professional scouts can advise the elite high school players of their potential draft status helping the player and his family make the best decision. High school players generally will not make an immediate impact for a NBA team. With the recent success of the NBA G League (similar to the AAA minor baseball), this will help these high school players develop properly without having to be a college student.
The Recruiting Calendar
Currently, schools have 130 recruiting days a year. These days are divided among the head coach and three assistant coaches. Also, those 130 days are restricted to specific periods of the year. This regulation limits the time for college coaches to build the appropriate relationships with the athletes, their families, and their high school coaches. A solution could be to increase the number of recruiting days up to 150 and not restrict the recruiting periods. One of the restricted periods goes on during the summer. Typically all the coaches are off campus for an extended time in the summer leaving the incoming freshmen less time to get acclimated with the coaching staff. After all the time spent on recruiting the player, once he is finally on campus the coaches are not there because they are on the road recruiting. Allowing recruiting throughout the entire year will be beneficial for both players and coaches. Coaches at different levels of Division I should be allowed to create their own "recruiting philosophy", and recruit whenever they wish. The idea is to allow more opportunity for these coaches to build a genuine relationship with the players.
Access to Players
Once the coaches finally do return to campus from recruiting trips over the Summer, the NCAA prohibits the coaches spending more than 8 hours a week with the players on athletic activities. The NCAA even distinctly states that of the 8 hours of athletically related activities, only two of those hours can be basketball skill related instructions. This simply just is not enough time for college basketball players to develop and improve their skills. Rather than giving distinction, the NCAA should allow the staff to utilize the 8 hours per week how they feel is best for their players. This will help the skill development for each individual player.
The NCAA should also help develop young aspiring coaches. Allow the director of operations, video coordinators, and graduate assistants to coach the players while the other staff members are out recruiting. They are likely in those positions to become a coach one day so the NCAA should provide them the opportunity to gain valuable coaching, teaching, and relationship building experience with the players. Having more access to the players on and off the court will help the retention of these players.
National Letter of Intent
There are some unfair terms that lie within the National Letter of Intent (NLI). For the majority of signees, when a prospective player decides to commit to a school, they are making that decision based on the coach that has recruited him. The NLI makes it clear that the player is signing with the school not the coach. The school is able to change their mind on who coaches there basketball team at an instant but the players are forced to the commitment because of the NLI. It is unfair for a player to not have the ability to change his decision if the coach who he committed to playing for is terminated. It forces both the player and the new coaching staff to commit with each other when they may not even have a relationship. Making a slight modification to the NLI can help the experience of players and coaches.
In the event of a coaching change, the incoming recruit and new coaching staff will be allowed a certain period of time to build a relationship. Essentially it allows the coaching staff to re-recruit the player. If either party decides they are not a good fit for each other, the player would be given the opportunity to reopen his recruiting. It allows the coaches and players to properly take part in the culture they desire.
With all the recent college basketball scandals in the past years, this will actually turn out to be a blessing. Coaches and players will be more reluctant to bend any rules knowing indictments are a real possibility for any violations. Some of these changes are nothing extraordinary, but they can all help enhance the experience of college basketball athletes. At the end of the day, it is all about providing the student athletes the best collegiate experience possible.