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Originally published April 25, 2018 at 08:42a.m., updated April 25, 2018 at 10:36a.m.

College basketball panel calls on NCAA to ban cheats, end one-and-done

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during a news conference at the NCAA headquarters, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Indianapolis. The Commission on College Basketball led by Rice, released a detailed 60-page report, seven months after the NCAA formed the group to respond to a federal corruption investigation that rocked college basketball. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during a news conference at the NCAA headquarters, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Indianapolis. The Commission on College Basketball led by Rice, released a detailed 60-page report, seven months after the NCAA formed the group to respond to a federal corruption investigation that rocked college basketball. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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— The Commission on College Basketball sharply directed the NCAA to take control of the sport, calling for sweeping reforms to separate pro and college tracks, permit players to return to school after going undrafted by the NBA and ban cheating coaches for life.

The independent commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, released a detailed 60-page report Wednesday, seven months after the group was formed by the NCAA in response to a federal corruption investigation that rocked college basketball. Ten people, including some assistant coaches, have been charged in a bribery and kickback scheme , and high-profile programs such as Arizona, Louisville and Kansas have been tied to possible NCAA violations.

"The members of this commission come from a wide variety of backgrounds but the one thing that they share in common is that they believe the college basketball enterprise is worth saving," Rice told the AP Tuesday night, before addressing NCAA leaders on Wednesday morning. "We believe there's a lot of work to do in that regard. That the state of the game is not very strong.

"We had to be bold in our recommendations," she said.

It's not yet clear how the governing body would pay for some of the proposals, and some of the panel's key recommendations would require cooperation from the NBA, its players union and USA Basketball.

The commission offered harsh assessments of toothless NCAA enforcement, as well as the shady summer basketball circuit that includes AAU leagues and brings together agents, apparel companies and coaches looking to profit on teenage prodigies. It called the environment surrounding college basketball "a toxic mix of perverse incentives to cheat," and said responsibility for the current mess goes all the way up to university presidents.

The group recommended the NCAA have more involvement with players before they get to college and less involvement with enforcement. It also acknowledged the NCAA will need help to make some changes and defended its amateurism model, saying paying players a salary isn't the answer.

"The goal should not be to turn college basketball into another professional league," the commission wrote in its report.

WATCH THE REPLAY: Check out Condoleeza Rice's presentation and the full, 52-page report of The Commission on College Basketball's recommendations to the NCAA.

Rice presented the commission's report to the NCAA's Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors at the association's headquarters Wednesday. She called the crisis in college basketball "first and foremost a problem of failed accountability and lax responsibility."

The two groups of university presidents planned to meet after Rice's presentation to consider adopting the commission's recommendations. If adopted, the hard work of turning the recommendations into NCAA legislation begins.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said he wants reforms in place by August. The commission does, too. And it wants to review the NCAA's plans for implementation before it goes before the boards for approval.

"A lot of hard work to do now to take those recommendations and convert them into actionable agendas, but that's the job of the board and my staff," Emmert said.

The 12-member panel included college administrators and former coaches and players, and was tasked with finding ways to reform five areas: NBA draft rules, including the league's age limit that has led to so-called one-and-done players; the relationship between players and agents; non-scholastic basketball like AAU; involvement of apparel companies and NCAA enforcement.

NCAA officials mostly stayed out of the process. Emmert and Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson were part of the commission, but not included in executive sessions, when proposals were being formed. The commission spent 70 percent of its time in executive session, Rice said, and kept its work secret until Wednesday's reveal.

The overarching message to those in college athletics: Take responsibility for problems you have created.


ONE-AND-DONE

The commission emphasized the need for elite players to have more options when choosing between college and professional basketball, and to separate the two tracks.

The commission called for the NBA and its players association to change rules requiring players to be at least 19 years old and a year removed from graduating high school to be draft eligible. The one-and-done rule was implemented in 2006, despite the success of straight-from-high-school stars such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

"I'm confident they are going to be very supportive," Emmert said of the NBA and NBAPA.

The NBA and players union released a statement supportive of the commission's recommendations on enforcement and sharing concerns about youth basketball. On draft rules, however, there was no commitment.

"Regarding the NBA's draft eligibility rules, the NBA and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game," they said.

The commission did, however, say if the NBA and NBPA refuse to change their rules in time for the next basketball season, it would reconvene and consider other options for the NCAA, such as making freshmen ineligible or locking a scholarship for three or four years if the recipient leaves a program after a single year.

"One-and-done has to go one way or another," Rice told the AP.

The commission decided against attempting to mirror rules for baseball but said it could reconsider. Major League Baseball drafts players out of high school, but once an athlete goes to college he is not eligible to be drafted until after his third year. Baseball players can also return for their senior seasons after being drafted as long as they do not sign professional contracts.

The commission did take a piece of the baseball model and recommended basketball players be allowed to test the professional market in high school or after any college season, while still maintaining college eligibility. If undrafted, a college player would remain eligible as long as he requests an evaluation from the NBA and returns to the same school. Players could still leave college for professional careers after one year, but the rules would not compel them to do so.


ENFORCEMENT

The commission recommended harsher penalties for rule-breakers and that the NCAA outsource the investigation and adjudication of the most serious infractions cases. Level I violations would be punishable with up to a five-year postseason ban and the forfeiture of all postseason revenue for the time of the ban. That could be worth tens of millions to major conference schools. By comparison, recent Level I infractions cases involving Louisville and Syracuse basketball resulted in postseason bans of one year.

In those cases, then-Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who was later fired after being tied to the FBI investigation, received a five-game NCAA suspension for violations related to an assistant coach hiring strippers for recruits, and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for nine games for academic misconduct and extra benefits violations. The commission said suspensions should be longer, up to one full season.

Instead of show cause orders, which are meant to limit a coach's ability to work in college sports after breaking NCAA rules, the report called for lifetime bans. The commission also said coaches and administrators should be contractually obligated comply with NCAA investigations.

"The rewards of success, athletic success, have become very great. The deterrents sometimes aren't as effective as they need to be. What we want are deterrents that really impact an institution," said Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins, who was a member of the Rice commission.


AGENTS

The commission proposed the NCAA create a program for certifying agents, and make them accessible to players from high school through their college careers.


AAU AND SUMMER LEAGUES

The NCAA, with support from the NBA and USA Basketball, should run its own recruiting events for prospects during the summer, the commission said, and take a more serious approach to certifying events it does not control.

The NCAA should require greater transparency of the finances of what it called non-scholastic basketball events and ban its coaches from attending those that do not comply with more stringent vetting, the report said. Such a ban could wipe out AAU events that have flourished in showcasing future talent.


APPAREL COMPANIES

The commission also called for greater financial transparency from shoe and apparel companies such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. These companies have extensive financial relationships with colleges and coaches worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and Adidas had two former executives charged by federal prosecutors in New York in the corruption case.

The commission also called out university presidents, saying administrators can't be allowed to turn a blind eye to infractions.

To that end, the commission said university presidents should be required to "certify annually that they have conducted due diligence and that their athletic programs comply with NCAA rules."

The commission recommended the NCAA Board of Governors, currently comprised of 16 university presidents and chancellors, include five public members with full voting privileges who are not currently employed as university leaders.

Finally, the commission admonished those within college sports who use the NCAA as a scapegoat for the problems in basketball, saying universities and individuals are accountable for keeping the game clean.

"When those institutions and those responsible for leading them short-circuit rules, ethics and norms in order to achieve on-court success, they alone are responsible," the commission wrote. "Too often, these individuals hide behind the NCAA when they are the ones most responsible for the degraded state of intercollegiate athletics, in general, and college basketball in particular."

Comments

Dane Pratt 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This all sounds great but for any of it to work requires enforcement and that's something the NCAA is not very good at.

Phil Leister 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This commission accomplished NOTHING of substance. Gary Parrish just tweeted this and really hit the nail on the head:

----Here’s Condoleezza Rice’s argument for allowing players to engage with agents: “If NCAA rules do not allow them to receive that advice openly, they will receive it illicitly.”

Same goes for money.

Which is why these recommendations won’t solve college basketball’s problems.

Bottom line, the Commission on College Basketball was created because an FBI investigation uncovered some people were illegally giving money to other people to secure players in some form. And these recommendations do little, if not nothing, to address that central issue.----

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I generally agree. However, I do hope the 1 & done rules gets tossed out in the wake of this report. That would help.

Phil Leister 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I think it will help. But a lot of the guys taking money under the table weren't one-and-done guys anyways. And that's an NBA rule. So the NCAA commission's first suggestion was something they have absolutely no control over.

Jesse Johnson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Their proposed solution for the OAD issue is terrible though. Punish the school via scholarship losses because a kid has a stellar year and realizes he can leave and make millions in the NBA after one year? That's ridiculous. Players should have the flexibility to make decisions that are the best for themselves without hurting the schools they attended.

Brian Skelly 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Agreed. This was a glorified dog and pony show. It was designed for the NCAA to blame everyone else, all while still counting their billions in the drawer.

Robert Brock 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Phil is right X2: the biggest problem is agents/runners pumping out payola to control players because they are desperate to get a cut of the kids’ pro contracts when that event occurs. The “commission” didn’t really address that.

Re the One-and-Done/age 19 mess...the”commission” addresses that, but it is in the power of the NBA and especially in the power of the NBPA. The “commission” is powerless. Weird. As for the NBPA, why should they do ANYTHING? What’s in it for them?

Brad Farha 3 months, 2 weeks ago

NCAA does have some power here -- making freshmen ineligible, or locking out a scholarship for 3-4 years if the student leaves after 1 year. These are nuclear options, and I suspect the NCAA will not take them. But if they did, they'd destroy the 1 year vetting period (via NCAA play) for the NBA and force the NBA to rethink the 1 & done policy.

There are negative consequences to this, i.e. every talented kid avoiding NCAA so they can play right away in G league or overseas, so I doubt this will happen.

Jesse Johnson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It's a terrible idea. Players should be able to make the best decisions for themselves without their school getting punished. Sometimes a kid goes to school thinking he'll leave after a year but realizes he needs a couple or three (see Malik Newman and Brandon Rush). Sometimes a kid is seen as a likely 2-3 year prospect but has a stellar freshman year and can go pro after 1 year (see Trae Young). There is no reason at all why there should be any sort of punishments doled out for kids making these decisions that are best for their personal situations.

Brad Farha 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree with you, I don't like that approach and don't think it'll happen. The NCAA does have some power to do something about 1 and done....it's just not a good option.

Cedric Spire 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This is fake news. Kansas has not been sighted for possible recruiting violations. This is total BS.

Steve Jacob 3 months, 2 weeks ago

An employee of a company that gives KU millions paid a player to come to KU. I do not view that as much different as a coach doing it.

Craig Carson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

@Steve, technically Addidas didnt pay Silvio to come to KU, they paid off UA the $$ they supposedly gave to lure him to Maryland..

Cedric Spire 3 months, 2 weeks ago

It's not even comparable! The person in question isn't employed by KU. That's a major difference. There has been zero link to the accused and any KU employee.

Cedric Spire 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The NCAA is ran just like our government corrupt as hell. The NCAA making million upon millions off of these kids and when some runners try to guide a player a certain way to make money it's total corruption. The NCAA is the largest criminal in this case.

Lawrence McGlinn 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This is too little too late, Getting rid of OAD would help if the NBA and NBAPA will agree to it, and I like the proposal to pay expenses for players with 2 years of college to graduate. But the apparel companies and "enterprising" agents are so deep in the process that it is make believe to say it is not professional. KU is due to get almost $200M from Adidas? They sponsor "academies" to crank out elite athletes and tours for top high school players who are treated like princes. Who do you think has the leverage here? And, so they are doubling down on cheaters. Oh, well. Expect more murky eligibility issues with KU's top recruits.

Tony Bandle 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The pig will change the color of her lipstick but the pig will still remain a pig.......nothing will change!

Tony Bandle 3 months, 2 weeks ago

For clarification's sake, the pig is the NCAA not Ms. Rice.

Edward Daub 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Never try to teach a pig to sing. The pig will do a lousy job of singing and will also become aggravated.

Dyrk Dugan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

How can the one and done rule be addressed, without adopting the baseball agreement? Allow players EVERY year to put their name in the draft, and allow them to come back to the same school if they’re not drafted? Not going to happen, and it’s not workable. The goal should be to stabilize rosters, not put them in chaos. It should be the opposite: once you put your name in the draft you’re done playing college ball, and ineligible for it. But once you’re enrolled at a four year school, it’s three years. And JUCO guys would commit for two; to complete the JUCO degree. And all of these certifications of AAU events and agents; who’s going to certify that? It’s really a disappointment; a lot of hype for very few workable reccomdendations.

Lawrence McGlinn 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I did not see if they recommended reforming the year-by-year renewal of scholarships. If they expect the students to stay the schools should make a longer commitment, also.

William R. Beck 3 months, 2 weeks ago

She did recommend outside investigation and enforcement. "that the NCAA outsource the investigation and adjudication of the most serious infractions cases." Would that have prevented North Carolina getting a free pass on their academic fraud? Maybe anything can be corrupted. When you are talking about a billion dollars of revenue in the college game and multimillion dollar coaching salaries, it may be very difficult to control bad behavior no matter what you do. The risk/reward calculation is just too low.

Steve Jacob 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The NCAA is a "to big to fail" corporation. It's too large to control, to much money, to many moving parts. I don't know how to help it. Getting rid on the OAD is a start, but the NBA does not want 18 year olds. Many lottery picks already end up in the G-League early on.

Harlan Hobbs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

To paraphrase Tony, "once you know the rules, the winners figure out how to play the game." If history teaches us anything, it is that magic solutions do not exist.

Ever since Adam took a bite from the apple, efforts to legislate "morality" have mostly been unsuccessful. Add in an exorbitant amount of money, and you have a formula for corruption.

That being said, I praise Ms. Rice and her colleagues for taking on this subject and coming up with some recommendations which might help in certain situations. Ultimately, though, it has to be about what is best for the young men involved.

The money will always be there because there is a huge demand for the product. The only goals I have are to see that the players have a chance to fulfill their dreams, that we eliminate as much unethical behavior as possible, and that individuals make the best decisions for their future.

Harlan Hobbs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Also, I tip my hat to all of the posters. While opinions vary, which is healthy, it is clear that everyone is paying attention to the seriousness of the situation and offering food for thought.

Craig Carson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

1) some of these penalties are too harsh..a 5 year postseason ban? you might as well tell any high profile school to shut down its entire basketball program..a banning of THAT coach or player is enough, dont punish the ENTIRE program and all its players because ONE coach/player did something..the NCAA need not rule by FEAR 2) the OAD isnt gonna stop just because the rule is repealed...sure, a lot of the top 25 will forgo college..but the ones that dont probably plan on staying in college 1 year anyway..not to mention all the other kids ranked outside the top 25 who now become the top players..whats stopping them from leaving after a season..Texas Tech lost Zhaire Smith after 1 season..he wasnt highly ranked and his freshmen season wasnt epic..its not the age rule, its the impatient culture of kids these days combined with milllions are dollars floating around 3) in my opinion, the only way to fix this is to allow kids to accept $$ or gifts from anyone they want to while they are in HS..the NCAA is suppose to govern COLLEGE athletics not HIGH SCHOOL..if an agent wants to give a kid a 100k advance to become his client after they leave college, then let them, they arent officially a member of the basketball team until their first practice..there is too much $$ floating around for it not to exchange hands..agents and shoe companies care about themselves, not the Universities 4) least likely fix, ban all agents and shoe company employees from AAU and HS events..if an agent is caught giving $$ to a player, they are banned from their profession and any employee for a shoe company is required to be banned AND immediately terminated..if the are gonna get harsh, 5 year postseason bans on Universities isnt where you should start, they gotta attack the problem at its root..same way cops care way more about a supplier of drugs than a simple street distributor

Jonathan Allison 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I kinda like the overkill penalties. But I don't think that they should probably be administered for first time offenders.

For instance, if coach is caught paying players or cheating for eligibility for recruits or something along those lines, if it's a first time offense I think that you rules based on the severity of the infraction just like they do now... scholarship reductions, forfeiture of wins, postseason bans, or whatever is considered sufficient. Those penalties should be made to punish both the school and the coach and they should stick. For example if the program gets penalized the coach at the time of the infractions should carry those penalties, even if he leaves for another school or is already gone to a another school. If KU gets investigated and penalized for something that happened way back when Roy was here, then Roy should get penalized too.

If a coach is a repeat offender, then the NCAA should definitely have the option of a lifetime ban or a multiple year postseason ban based on the severity of the reoccurring infractions. If Coach Cal got UMass penalized, and let's pretend he just went straight over to Memphis... he should take his penalties with him. Then he bolts for Kentucky and a short time later the NCAA finds out he was cheating at Memphis, they should penalize both Memphis and Kentucky and have the option of banning Coach Cal from NCAA competition, if they so choose, for whatever period of time they feel is justified.

Brian Skelly 3 months, 2 weeks ago

 What a waste of everyone's time.    This panel was designed to give the NCAA all the answers it wants to hear -- it's everyone elses fault but ours -- and move along while counting their billions.

  This thing does nothing to get at the heart of the issue, which is the level of complicit deceit and corruption that the NCAA engages in daily.     Again, primarily by pointing their fingers elsewhere.

  I will say I do believe the NBA is going to have to get more proactive.    You don't have these issues with the NFL, NHL, or MLB.   This entirely because all three of those leagues partner with the NCAA on issues like this.   The NBA does not,  for reasons I can't fathom at this point.

  The real issue for the NCAA is,  as according to this panel,  should be bringing the hammer down even more within its own jurisdiction.   Problem is, that jurisdiction IS THE PROBLEM!?!?!?!   Lets add more more punitive and archaic rules to an already punitive and archaic system.    That sounds brilliant.

  Nothing will change at all.   All the rest of this is dog and pony show,  mixed in with a little navel gazing.

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