NCAA reviews recruit policies

The proposals target allegations some schools used sex and alcohol to lure players.

The NCAA is considering new recruiting policies that could hurt the University’s ability to attract out-of-state athletic talent, said University Athletics Director Joel Maturi.

The revamped standards might ban University-funded recruiting visits, S. David Berst, chairman of an NCAA recruiting task force, said to a congressional subcommittee Thursday.

Berst said changes must be made in response to allegations that institutions such as the University of Colorado used sex and alcohol to attract high school athletes.

“We have seen allegations of behaviors that are morally reprehensible and organizationally unacceptable,” Berst said.

The University is in the midst of an internal investigation after recruits reported they were taken to strip clubs and bars while on official visits.

Maturi said competitiveness in recruiting has led athletics programs to overspend on recruiting visits.

“I think what’s happened is we’ve tried to out-entertain the competition,” Maturi said.

The NCAA has already banned recruits from attending private parties while on visits.

At the University of Colorado, officials implemented an 11 p.m. curfew and require that a parent or coach supervise all activities.

The University is reviewing its recruiting practices and will consider stricter recruiting standards, Maturi said.

It is important for the NCAA to develop a uniform standard, he said.

“When (the NCAA) legislates, you move back to an equal playing field,” Maturi said. “The problem is that when you legislate these issues on your own, you put yourself at a disadvantage.”

Maturi said he hopes Congress does not get involved in recruiting regulation because it does not understand the process well enough.

“It is best if we in the NCAA are self-regulating,” he said. “This is our own responsibility.”

Berst said the NCAA is considering many options to change how schools handle recruiting. Making recruits pay for recruiting visits is the harshest policy being discussed, he said.

Minnesota would be at a disadvantage because the state has a smaller population base than many of its competitors, Maturi said. States such as Michigan and Florida would have an advantage because of larger in-state talent pools, he said.

Hockey, which recruits most of its players from Minnesota or nearby Canadian provinces, would not be affected much by making recruits pay for visits, Maturi said.

“While we try to keep Minnesota players here at the University, we would be at a disadvantage if it were more difficult to bring in players from other states,” he said.

The NCAA might also shorten recruiting visits from 48 hours to 24 or 36 hours, Berst said.

Maturi said allowing students to stay one night would still give the University enough time to show recruits the school, campus and athletics facilities.

Universities might also be required to provide all recruitment-related food, lodging and entertainment on campus only, Berst said.

Campus-only visits might benefit the University, Maturi said, because recruits could stay at the Radisson on Washington Avenue, which is considered part of the campus.