NCAA proposes reforms to eliminate recruiting excesses

In an effort to cleanup the recruiting process, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors will consider emergency legislation at its meeting tomorrow.

The proposed reforms are intended to eliminate recruiting excesses and what NCAA President Miles Brand calls a “sense of entitlement” in college athletics.

The proposed rules are designed to make the recruiting process more representative of campus life and minimize the competition for recruits that has left many institutions trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Brand created a recruiting task force in February in response to the alleged use of alcohol and sex in recruiting at several major universities, including the University of Colorado and the University of Minnesota.

The recommendations are intended to help prospects make better decisions about where to go to school and eliminate the “celebrity” atmosphere surrounding recruits while on campus visits, the task force said in its final report.

Task force chairman S. David Berst said the group’s recommendations should improve the recruiting process.

“I believe what we have moving forward is meaningful and I believe it will reduce by a half-step the competitive nature of the 48 hours of the recruiting visit, and I hope we go further in the future,” Berst said.

The proposed changes would require all member institutions to develop written policies for official recruiting visits applying to recruits, coaches, student hosts and others. The policies must prohibit the use of alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling in recruiting.

Each institution’s chief executive officer must approve the policy, which also has to be screened by an outside source such as the conference office.

Other policies would limit air transportation for recruits to commercial coach fares, require universities to provide only “standard” vehicles, meals and lodging during visits and eliminate personal recruiting aids.

One rule would require student hosts during all recruiting visits to be current student-athletes or students designated to conduct campus visits for all prospective students. Special recruiting groups such as Minnesota’s Go-pher Gold would be permitted if they were part of the overall campus visit program, and not just used for athletes.

Personalized recruiting aids such as personalized jerseys or scoreboard messages would also be prohibited.

Earlier this year, Minnesota conducted its own internal investigations into allegations that recruits consumed alcohol and visited strip clubs while on recruiting visits last year. The athletics compliance office reported finding no major rule violations and no evidence that underage recruits were drinking.

University Athletics Director Joel Maturi said the NCAA needs recruiting reform in order to level the playing field.

“In this crazy world of intercollegiate athletics today, where it’s really becoming big business, we need to get back to, and focus on, the legitimacy of our mission,” Maturi said. “The hard thing about (recruiting reform) is trying to do it by yourself, because you do everything right, and you don’t win.”

Oregon recently spent more than $140,000 to host 25 recruits for a three-day visit, Maturi said. Because of practices like that, many students now choose a school based on who spends the most, he said.

Willie Williams, one of the top-rated recruits in the country, chose to attend Miami after other schools flew him on private jets with other recruits, while Miami used a private jet just for him, Maturi said.

Requiring commercial coach airfare and standard meals and lodging should help minimize unnecessary recruiting expenditures, he said.

“I think when you look at the recruiting – the amount of money that is spent on the meals and putting (recruits) up in hotels with hot tubs – the book says you’re supposed to emulate campus conditions,” Maturi said. “Well, I don’t think anyone on campus is in a suite with a hot tub.”

The NCAA Division I Management Council approved the task force’s recommendations on July 19.

Maturi, a member of the management council, said he supported the proposal.

“I do think some of the wording could have been better than it might be, but philosophically I agree with the direction they are going,” he said.

Requiring “standard” meals and lodging is too vague to effectively enforce, Maturi said. The Board of Directors might add more specific language to the rules, he said.

Any proposals the Board of Directors pass will take effect immediately.

NCAA Recruiting Rules Proposals

NCAA recruiting rules proposals to be voted on by the NCAA Board of Directors on Thursday:

– All member institutions must develop written policies for official visits banning the use of alcohol, drugs and gambling in recruiting. University CEOs must approve the policies.

– Institutions must use commercial coach airfare to transport recruits. Universities could no longer use private jets.

– Institutions must use standard vehicles to transport prospects. The use of specialized vehicles such as limousines would be prohibited.

– Institutes must lodge recruits in standard housing such as residential dorms and be offered standard meals similar to those offered on campus.

– Official visits’ hosts must be current student-athletes or students designated to conduct campus tours for all prospective students (i.e. University ambassadors).

– Institutions cannot develop personalized recruiting aides, such as personalized jerseys or scoreboard messages, or simulated game-day situations.

Source: NCAA