By MARC TRACY
© 2018 New York Times News Service
In a reaction to a federal investigation’s revelations last year of widespread corruption in college basketball recruiting, the Pacific-12 Conference announced Tuesday that it was putting its weight behind several reforms that would fundamentally change the sport. The proposals include new eligibility standards and limiting the presence of shoe companies — a bold statement from a league that counts the so-called University of Nike among its members.
The PAC-12 task force’s recommendations could prove to be a preview of the findings of an NCAA commission, led by the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to investigate potential changes for college basketball.
The PAC-12 group advocated encouraging the NBA and its players’ association to end its so-called one-and-done rule requiring players to be a year removed from high school before entering the league, as well as new rules like those in college baseball, in which players may sign with teams straight after high school but, if they enter college, must stay three years. It would also relax regulations barring contact with agents.
The college sports establishment does not control the one-and-done rule. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Michele Roberts, executive director of the NBA Players’ Association, have both met with Rice’s group, which plans to release its findings late next month. The NBA is planning to become more involved with high school basketball and may also work with the players’ union to end the one-and-done rule, ESPN reported this month.
Last year, federal prosecutors filed complaints from a yearslong investigation in which, the prosecutors said, four Division I assistant coaches were bribed to steer players toward would-be agents and financial advisers, and in which an Adidas executive helped use the company’s money to try to steer high school prospects to college programs sponsored by Adidas.
Documents associated with the cases have implicated dozens of current and future players on prominent programs, casting something of a pall over the annual Division I men’s basketball tournament, the NCAA’s marquee event that tips off this week.
The PAC-12 report, endorsed unanimously by the presidents and chancellors of the conference’s members, also recommended removing summer basketball programs from the purview of the apparel giants. The report also advocated full transparency of apparel deals with coaches and universities.