Sunday, January 18, 2009


Just got a text message from one of my NBA connections who is also close to the college game that as expected, the NCAA has decided NOT to reinstate the "live basketball recruiting period" for BOYS for the 2009 calendar year. This is something we knew was likely to stand, as it was legislated last year. Many college coaches and those of us with recruitable athletes had hoped it would be overturned at the last minute by some COMMON sense. It was not to be.

In these days of gender equity, I find it hard to understand why the GIRLS still have a "live" spring date, but the boys do not. For those of you who have emailed me about this & wanting additional information,let me give you an explanation.

The NCAA has chosen to not allow these sanctioned tournaments because they believe that:

“These nonscholastic events are often an affront to student-athlete well-being and cause prospects to pay, and, more importantly, miss class time and SAT preparation time,” Student Advisory Committee Chair Kerry Kenny said. “This is a chance to step up to the line and practice what we continually preach.” (about education)

I feel obligated to editorialize as to what a crock this is. I offer some questions for you to ponder:

1. Girls are capable of missing Friday school time to travel to tournaments, but boys are not?

2. How does this differ from a player missing class time as their high school team travels to games, either in high school tournaments or in districts where there are large distances between schools?

3. Has anyone in Texas ever seen a fuss made about football players almost NEVER attending regular classes on Friday game days?

Not for one minute am I suggesting that academics are not priority one. I have multiple college degrees and one of my son's was high school valedictorian. I am just confused as to the double standard posed above. The claim that the time could be better suited to SAT prep and class time is nominal at best. Any time kids have other activities that physically take them out of town, the common sense approach is to get assignments in advance, etc. Many of our brightest and best athletes will miss multiple school days this year heading to regional playoff games, and in the case of the Texas State High School Basketball Tournament they will miss a couple of days. Heck, the general student body who do not even play in these events, tend to miss school to support their class mates and community at these events.

Why does this matter?

Typically the signing protocol in basketball is as follows. In the early signing period (November of a player's senior year) they sign their letter of commiment binding them to the institution, and in turn binding the institution to the athlete for one year. Usually, it is the more "blue chip" kids, or the kids who've had an outstanding prior summer in the "July Live Period Events" who get the scholarship offers and the opportunity to sign early. The rest of the athletes (likely 80% or more) have to wait for the April signing period. Typically college coaches viewed them at the club basketball events in early and mid April and then chose the remaining players that they'd offer scholarships to.

Now how do players get recruited D-1 with the lack of this spring period?

1. College coaches can only view the players at their high school during practice, or at a regular high school game.

2. Kids MUST attend combines, HOPE to get on recruiting lists and/or continue to attend the spring tournaments where recruiting services are in the house to evaluate prospects as a proxy for the colleges they have a relationship with. Ironically these tournaments have the same time constraints as they did when they were "LIVE". Kids will still go and play.

Who does this hurt?

1. It hurts the late bloomer, the player who really develops during the course of their senior year.

2. It hurts kids who are not in the typical recruiting hotbeds, such as Dallas & Houston. Cities such as Austin, San Antonio and points smaller have fewer recruitable players and fewer direct airline flights to allow college coaches to just "drop in". Hence, they rarely come to see those kids.

3. It hurts kids where they may be the only prospect at the school. Once again, less incentive for a college coach to visit.