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The NCAA gets in its own way again with recruiting changes

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Of the many ways to try and clean up college basketball recruiting, the NCAA is enacting exactly zero of them.

FloSports: FloHoops EYBL Finals at Peach Jam Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

For those who have long followed my thoughts in this space, you may recall my general distaste for how the NCAA handles basically everything. Early on Tuesday, CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander published a scoop in which the NCAA is making changes to summer recruiting through recommendations from the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches). Here’s the window dressing:

A high-level source involved in the process told CBS Sports that, in addition to July undergoing overhaul, major changes could be on the way for April -- and June too, which for decades has not been a month associated with on-the-road recruitment. With the 2018 July live period over, the newly updated proposals detailed below are now highly anticipated to pass across the board.

In July, coaches will be moved from from three weekends to one when it comes to attending sanctioned, non-scholastic (so-called “AAU”) events. The earliest five-day July evaluation period will remain in place; coaches will still be able to attend Nike’s Peach Jam and other non-scholastic tournaments in that window. The month itself is shrinking from three recruiting weekends to two, with the second featuring camp-style events that will be coordinated by the NCAA, USA Basketball, the NBA and the NBA Players Association.

I highly encourage you to read the full text of the article if you haven’t already. It’s very detailed and will help you understand how the recruiting periods break down.

Overall, the changes aren’t as bad as they were originally expected to be when the plans got leaked out in early July.

There was a glut of national media and boisterous coaches who were panning the ideas laid out, and with good reason. The NABC’s recommendations initially seemed off the wall, and while they’ve been tamed they still miss the larger point of why the Rice Commission was formed in the first place.

Basically the NCAA, panicked by the news cycle of the FBI scandal rocking college basketball, hastily pulled together a commission of former administrators and coaches and business leaders to come up with solutions to the problems exposed by the FBI probe. Notably missing were the voice of the players and their families. Needless to say the Rice Commission came up with zero solutions to the problems.

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Following the Rice Commission the NABC released their own recommendations for changes, again, solving none of the problems the FBI probe presented.

The problems uncovered by the FBI investigation were that when you have a limited supply of one thing (players) you will inevitably drive up demand and in a place with no real market one will inevitably be created. What the FBI found out was that a black market existed for players and the people with money were exploiting that market to land talent.

Whether it was parents, coaches, handlers, or distant relatives, there was often someone with their hand out expecting a small payday to help deliver a player.

For anyone paying attention this isn’t a surprise. College recruiting has been dirty for as long as anyone has paid for a ticket to see a football or basketball game. As the money has only gone up for college sports, so have the ways players have found ways to get their hands on some of that money. But it isn’t just players also.

Agents and Financial Advisors know if they get in with these players early they can make a nice living off the players earnings once these players turn professional. So they try to get in early. It turns out, some of them were funneling money to College assistant coaches in order to steer the players to the Advisors once they signed their contract.

Let me be clear on this point... the changes unearthed by Matt Norlander solve NONE of these problems.

Who do these rule changes actually help? Well nobody really. It will certainly make it more difficult for mid and low major players to get seen, and tougher for coaches to see the kinds of players who fill their rosters.

So why some lament the influence of shoe company money in amateur sports.

But the coaches and Universities had no problem taking the money from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. Rick Pintino was paid more by Adidas than he was from Louisville (before he was fired). Kansas signed a 12 year $191 million contract just last year with Adidas.

Yes, Jeff... what is the point?

The point is to do what the NCAA does best, shuffling the deck chairs on a sinking ship which does everything it can to keep the money train rolling in while ignoring the reality of why corruption and cheating has and will continue to happen.