Athletic recruiting needs reform

The University need not resort to the improper recruiting techniques other programs employ.

On Thursday the NCAA Board of Directors will meet to vote on proposed changes to recruiting techniques. Given the rash of reported incidents, most recently University football players taking underage recruits to strip joints and bars during recruiting visits on at least two separate occasions last December, the University must make changes to restore both its dignity and protect that of future recruits.

The University should not recruit by indulging athletes’ vices but instead display the University and its athletic programs’ merits. While an internal University investigation found no major NCAA infractions in taking underage recruits to bars and strip clubs, the University must not treat these incidents lightly.

Given University Athletics’ scandalous history, the University should be willing to remove itself from the cutthroat world of shady recruiting techniques.

Most college administrators believe some changes are necessary. These changes include reducing each high school athlete’s official recruiting visits from five to three schools, and eliminating overnight stays. Among other things, extravagant meals, limousines and female chaperones specific to athletics, are being considered for elimination. The sense of privilege athletes feel on campus should be reduced as much as possible.

If the NCAA is not willing to take a stand, the University should step forward and self-impose policies that are stricter than the changes recommended by the NCAA.

Some may attribute the outrage over recruiting to puritanical views on sex and alcohol. This might be partially true, though University representatives should maintain minimum standards of conduct. But it is more the sense that athletes are treated better than other students.

The state funds both the University and its athletic departments. They are held accountable in the public eye. It is no more appropriate for University recruiting guides to take underage prospects to strip joints, than it is for the Department of Transportation to take potential employees to sex shows. The University doesn’t need to resort to questionable recruiting techniques other programs readily employ.