July hoops recruiting stays for now

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rather than banning summer recruiting just yet, the NCAA's Board of Directors wants to take a longer look before making any changes.

On Thursday, the committee voted to support a yearlong study into the summer recruiting period rather than moving forward with a proposal from the Collegiate Commissioners Association that would have banned summer recruiting.

The reason for the decision, according to the governing body's website, was the number of concerns raised since the CCA approved the proposal this summer.

"The initial flurry was to get everybody's attention and they got everyone's attention," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "We just have to go through the process. Coaches will be heard. It's not something that would be healthy for a large portion of the county."

Supporters of the change believe it would weed out some third-party influences in the recruiting process and allow coaches to spend more time on campus, helping new players get acclimated to the college environment.

Those who opposed the change, such as the National Association of Basketball Coaches and some conferences, contend an outright ban would increase school costs, not give coaches enough time to make thorough evaluations and have the unintended consequence of increasing contacts with third parties.

Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade said last week the conference sent a letter to the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and NCAA President Mark Emmert supporting summer recruiting.

Some coaches were very upset over the proposal. It's a pivotal evaluation time for coaches, who travel to various summer camps and clinics over two 10-day stretches of scouting trips.

Others said they would be willing to give up time in July if they got back evaluation periods in April.

"I think the coaches need to be careful how they talk about July," said Martelli, an NABC board member. "When guys are offering up proposals of giving up a couple of days, what that does is just fuel the case for those that want to alter it or abolish it. They get strengthened by saying, 'See the coaches don't even like it.' Well that's not true.

"I think everybody just needs to catch their breath and let the process go forward."

The NCAA's Leadership Council will begin the study in January and will seek guidance from the Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issue Cabinet, the NABC and representatives of youth basketball such as iHoops.

No changes are expected to be made before the summer of 2012.

After the study is complete, the board said it would again consider sponsoring the CCA's proposal.

In other business, the board agreed to sponsor legislation that would prevent athletes from opting out of sickle-cell tests. That legislation could be approved in January.

Currently, incoming freshmen are required to take the test, provide documentation they have been tested or sign a release declining the test. Those rules were approved in April and took effect Aug. 1.

The board will also support legislation to discuss safety and privacy concerns regarding the sickle-cell tests.