NCAA forms commission to clean up college basketball after recruiting scandal
The Commission on College Basketball will examine a "system that clearly is not working," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. The group will start meeting in November and will deliver recommendations on changes at the NCAA Board of Directors meeting in April.
The 14-member committee will be headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and include former star players, including Grant Hill and David Robinson, and former coaches, including John Thompson III and Mike Montgomery.
"We need to do right by student-athletes," Emmert said in a statement. "I believe we can — and we must — find a way to protect the integrity of college sports by addressing both sides of the coin: fairness and opportunity for college athletes, coupled with the enforcement capability to hold accountable those who undermine the standards of our community."
Emmert's statements are the organization's first since shortly after the FBI announced that 10 people had been arrested — including four assistant coaches — as part of an alleged pay to play recruiting scheme involving seven universities, coaches, former agents and Adidas employees.
“The recent news of a federal investigation into fraud in college basketball made it very clear the NCAA needs to make substantive changes to the way we operate, and do so quickly," Emmert said Wednesday. "While I believe the vast majority of coaches follow the rules, the culture of silence in college basketball enables bad actors, and we need them out of the game."
The federal complaint involving Louisville alleges that Adidas employees and Louisville coaches conspired to pay two recruits to go the school, dubbed "University 6" in the complaint.
Investigators said the Adidas employees and the coaches conspired to pay $100,000 to a recruit's family in exchange for the player committing to Louisville and then representing Adidas when he turns pro.
University of Louisville interim President Greg Postel acknowledged the school was involved in the investigation and later suspended athletic director Tom Jurich, men's basketball coach Rick Pitino, assistant coaches Jordan Fair and Kenny Johnson, and basketball player Brian Bowen.
Jurich and Pitino have denied wrongdoing, while Bowen has retained a lawyer to seek reinstatement to the team. Neither Fair nor Johnson have commented publicly, and Courier-Journal attempts to reach them have been unsuccessful.
Postel said that he had not been informed by the NCAA that the school was under investigation.
USA TODAY contributed to this report. Reporter Justin Sayers can be reached at 502-582-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Commission's Objectives
NCAA President Mark Emmert said the newly formed Commission on College Basketball will focus on three areas:
- The relationship of the NCAA national office, member institutions, student-athletes and coaches with outside entities, including: Apparel companies and other commercial entities, to establish an environment where they can support programs in a transparent way, but not become an inappropriate or distorting influence on the game, recruits or their families. Nonscholastic basketball, with a focus on the appropriate involvement of college coaches and others. Agents or advisers, with an emphasis on how students and their families can get legitimate advice without being taken advantage of, defrauded or risk their NCAA eligibility.
- The NCAA’s relationship with the NBA, and the challenging effect the NBA’s so-called “one and done” rule has had on college basketball, including how the NCAA can change its eligibility rules to address that dynamic.
- Creating the right relationship between the universities and colleges of the NCAA and its national office to promote transparency and accountability. The commission will be asked to evaluate whether the appropriate degree of authority is vested in the current enforcement and eligibility processes, and whether the collaborative model provides the investigative tools, cultural incentives and structures to ensure exploitation and corruption cannot hide in college sports.