Don’t think the NCAA has forgotten about the FBI investigation that rocked college basketball last year. In hopes to combat the influence of AAU programs and shoe companies with college recruitments, the NABC Ad Hoc committee is expected to recommend big changes to the summer recruiting circuit and live period. Those recommendations will be made to the Commission on College Basketball that for some reason is still being led by Condoleeza Rice. Dan Guerrero (UCLA AD) will draft the proposal and it will be accepted or denied by Rice and company, and we should all expect it to pass. It wouldn’t change AAU basketball this July, but things could still move quickly.
So, here’s what would change according to Jeff Goodman: The shoe company events in July (Peach Jam, adidas Gauntlet, Under Armour Championship Thing ((not its actual name)) would still run, but college coaches would not be allowed to attend. College coaches are already barred from a couple events in the spring, so evaluating would seem to be difficult.
The NCAA will host four regional camps that will invited 35 players to attend. The college coaches would vote on the players (based regionally) and then the coaches could watch those players go through drills and scrimmages. MVPs of those four camps would be invited to an Elite Camp where coaching would be provided by the G League and possibly NBA players. Kinda like an NBA Top 100 Camp situation, but with fewer players.
The plan would also include open gyms at high schools in May and June, where college coaches could travel across the country and watch their targets play in their high school gyms with other high school players. It’s clear that the NCAA wants high school coaches to have more power while trying to take the influence of AAU teams and shoe companies out of the equation.
I’m all for taking power away from AAU teams and shoe companies, but I’m not convinced the influence won’t transition over to high schools. Nike, adidas and Under Armour still sponsor high schools. High schools may still be tempted to hire shady individuals if it means the school will get more money. If the NCAA isn’t careful then high schools’ apparel rights could turn into bidding wars. It’s already happened at some prep-schools.
From a Kentucky perspective regional camps would be good and give UK the chance to see the best of the best go against the best of the best. No hiding there. But these camps could be a major bummer for unranked, three and low-end four-star players. Every year we have a few players that had zero national buzz shoot up in the rankings and land offers from bluebloods. That could still possibly happen, but it seems less likely.
There’s no easy answer, but at least the NCAA is trying new things. I’m all for limiting influence of shoe companies but hopefully the shadiness won’t just slide over to high school athletics.