Panel suggests changes

The recommendations would prohibit lavish meals, lodging and private plane flights.

An NCAA task force is recommending changes to recruiting policies that would make official visits more representative of student life, officials said.

The NCAA Task Force on Recruiting suggested changes should be made for all universities regarding transportation, meals and lodging, and game-day activities.

“I think the more they address, the easier it will be for us to implement what we feel is appropriate,” Athletics Director Joel Maturi said.

The 18-member task force did not endorse eliminating or shortening official visits, as Chairman S. David Berst suggested at a congressional subcommittee hearing March 11.

The recommendations will now be forwarded to the Division I Management Council, and then to the board of directors.

The recommendations will help correct common recruiting problems, task force member Sonia Price said. The review was necessary and overdue, she said.

“Hopefully, what we’ll do will at least wake everyone up that there need to be changes,” Price said.

The task force recommended limiting air travel to coach fares on commercial airlines. This policy would prevent institutions from flying prospective athletes to campus on private jets, said Frank Kara, the University’s compliance director.

The suggestions would also prohibit extravagant meals and lodging, requiring institutions to provide “standard” accommodations.

University recruits usually stay either with a player host in a residence hall or apartment, or in a hotel, Kara said.

Coaches usually take recruits to local restaurants such as Famous Dave’s or Vescio’s for meals. Kara said most people consider the outings to be standard.

“I would tend to agree,” he said, “but I also remember when I was in college, some weeks you struggled to have a macaroni and cheese dinner.”

Kara said he thinks the recommendations need to be more specific or many institutions will go back to the NCAA for guidance. But it would be difficult for the NCAA to set a spending limit, because costs vary throughout the country, he said.

The changes would prohibit certain game-day activities, such as showing prospects personalized jerseys or simulating game-day scenarios.

The suggestions could also mark the end of the campus recruiting group Gopher Gold. The task force called for a ban on special recruiting groups, preferring that student-athlete hosts or regular student ambassadors be used.

The task force did not back a proposal to reduce the length of recruiting visits from 48 hours to 24 or 36. Associate Athletics Director Karen Weaver, who is leading the University’s internal recruiting task force, said she supported the proposal.

The recommendations did not specifically address the use of alcohol and sexual activities in recruiting, issues which led to the task force’s inception, Weaver said. Instead, the group said it wants individual institutions to devise their own policies, or “best practices.”

The NCAA would then hold institutions accountable for adhering to their internal policies, Weaver said.

Once the NCAA finalizes changes to recruiting policies, an internal task force will address University policies, Weaver said.

Any changes should be in place for next school year, she said.