When the FBI’s probe into college basketball turned the sport on its head last fall, NCAA president Mark Emmert promised “significant changes” were on the way. At the heart of that promise was the formation of the Commission on College Basketball, a group of 14 individuals hand-picked to spend months examining the DNA of the sport and then return with a handful of suggestions on how to better college hoops.
On Wednesday morning (April 25), those suggestions were released in the form of a 60-page report. Commission chair Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, also expanded upon the report during a lengthy press conference.
If you don’t have the time to read the full report, here are the major takeaways from the commission’s report.
One and Done/NBA Draft
The commission’s recommendations began with, and a healthy chunk of Rice’s comments Wednesday morning focused on, the need for the so-called “one and done” rule to be abolished. The irony here, of course, is that the one and done rule is an NBA rule, not a college one.
Even so, the commission called for a return to the time when players could make the jump to the NBA right out of high school. Some thought the commission might recommend some variation of the baseball model, which allows players to turn pro after high school, but requires them to stay in college for at least three seasons if they choose to go that route. This did not happen.
The commission acknowledged that the NBA and the NBA Player’s Association are the ones that would ultimately have to change this rule. The report also stated that if this doesn’t happen, the commission could reconvene and consider other options, “such as making freshmen ineligible or locking a scholarship for three or four years if the recipient leaves a program after a single year.”
The other really notable item as far as college basketball’s relationship with the NCAA is concerned is that the commission called for players who declare themselves eligible for the draft but go un-drafted to be permitted to return to school. The only stipulation here is that the player has to return to the same school.
The commission strongly recommended that the NCAA deal with rule-breakers in a harsher manner than it is presently. It also recommended that the NCAA outsource the investigations of its most serious infractions cases so as to save resources and expedite the process for all involved.
If the commission’s recommendations were to be put into effect, Level I violations would now be punishable by up to a five-year postseason ban. The offending programs would also have to forfeit all postseason revenue for the time of the ban.
The report also called for lifetime bans instead of show-cause penalties for coaches who commit Level I transgressions as well as a contractual obligation for coaches and school administrators to comply with NCAA investigations.
As far as grassroots summer basketball leagues are concerned, the commission’s recommendation is for the NCAA to run its own recruiting events during the summer that would steer players away from the Nike and adidas events. In an ideal world, the commission states, the NCAA’s summer events would be supported both by the NBA and USA Basketball.
The commission made a broad call for greater financial transparency from apparel companies, namely Nike, adidas and Under Armour. It did not, however, call for these companies to cease their involvement with the sport completely.
Very few items in the commission’s recommendations would seem to benefit the players. One notable exception is the proposal that the NCAA create a program for certifying agents that would result in agents accessible to players from high school through their college careers.
As far as the lingering issue surrounding whether or not players should be paid, the commission essentially punted. While it took no definitive stance on the issue, Rice’s comments during Wednesday morning’s press session certainly seemed to indicate that she sided with NCAA president Mark Emmert’s strong opposition to players being financially compensated.
“Our focus has been to strengthen the collegiate model – not to move toward one that brings aspects of professionalism into the game,” Rice said.
She later added: “We need to put the college back in college basketball.”
The commission also took no stance on the issue of players potentially being able to control and make money off their image and likeness.