On August 8, 2018, the NCAA announced sweeping policy changes specifically targeting NCAA Men’s Basketball. These policy changes come in the midst of an ongoing bribery scandal. As we have previously covered, the scandal involved two alleged schemes that rocked NCAA Men’s Basketball. The first scheme involved NCAA basketball coaches who solicited and accepted bribes from financial advisers and, in return, promised to persuade players to send business to those financial advisers once the players turned professional. The second scheme involved efforts to secretly funnel money from Adidas to players and their families in exchange for the players’ commitments to play at Adidas-sponsored college and to later sign sponsorship deals once they turned pro. Since the allegations, there has been a wave of indictments, subpoenas, allegations, and accusations of players, coaches, and personal. Simply put, the scandal has created a serious blemish on NCAA Men’s Basketball reputation.
In response to the crisis, the NCAA’s board of governors and Division I board of directors recently changed NCAA policy to allow elite high school basketball recruits and college players to be represented by NCAA certified agents. These agents will be permitted to pay for meals and transportation for players and their families during the agent selection process and for meetings with NBA teams. These agreements will be terminated when the student enrolls or returns to the NCAA. In the event that a college player enters the NBA draft and is not selected will be allowed to return to the NCAA. In addition, high school basketball players will now be allowed to take as many as fifteen, instead of the previous five, official NCAA visits.
The NCAA will also introduce more rigorous certification requirements for summer amateur basketball events. Specifically, the NCAA hopes to address concerns about corruption and third-party influence on high-school athletes at these events. A new recruiting calendar will allow college coaches to attend more high school-sponsored events, but will limit their access to non-sponsored events.
Further, the NCAA changed its policy to require college coaches and staff to report their athletics-related income that exceeds more than $600 from any source outside their school, including from apparel companies like Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour. According to the NCAA, it is currently pursuing contracts with apparel companies with the hope for more accountability and transparency regarding the companies’ involvement in youth basketball. The NCAA hopes the agreements will require the apparel companies to make annual disclosures, report NCAA violations, and to obtain NCAA certification for its youth basketball events.
Lastly, the NCAA will impose longer postseason bans, suspensions, and increased recruitment restrictions for coaches who break rules. In a statement, NCAA President, Mark Emmert, said, “[t]hese changes will promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interest of student-athletes over every other factor. We remain committed to promoting fairness in college sports and creating an environment that will champion the success of student-athletes.”