The NCAA, as well as those tasked with implementing change, will likely pass new rules when it comes to recruiting on August 8. Directly, and possibly with intent, the proposed change will turn low-major basketball programs into victims.
To summarize the changes as briefly as possible: The NCAA would like to rid coaches the chance to scout players by way of AAU events. From the organization’s point of view, or at least how it is publicly making its stance, AAU basketball is the evil empire and sole reason for corruption in college sports.
A legit LOL.
The governing body of college sports would instead like to spurn the AAU system to host a series of events that feature the nation’s top senior and junior high school prospects, with a few elite sophomores added to the mix.
According to Matt Norlander’s report, the camps will include roughly 1,100 seniors and around as many as 1,000 juniors. That’s 2,100 of the country’s best high school players.
What’s the problem?
There’s over 350 Division I basketball programs. The majority of those will not be in the mix to land the top 1,000 players per recruiting class. While 1,000 seems like a huge number, realize there’s schools from the Big East, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12, SEC, Big Ten and AAC positioning themselves for those recruits. Couple that with your standard mid-majors, where does that leave a university such as the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds?
Holding the bag, obviously.
The NCAA loves to tout the idea of fair-and-balanced play, mostly to justify restrictions against player-movement, but how does forcing low-majors to lose hot live periods and instead do battle with bluer-blood programs at a series of events do them any good?
It doesn’t, naturally. Not that the NCAA truly cares about that.
CBB Today can give you a tangible example of a low-major benefiting off the July live period. Stony Brook’s Elijah Olaniyi didn’t start playing basketball until eighth grade. He wasn’t even a blip on the recruiting radar until the July live period his high school junior year. The Seawolves would have never known about him if these proposed camps were set in place during his recruiting cycle. Not only wouldn’t he have been invited to such camps, but Stony Brook’s coaches wouldn’t get to see him play in AAU settings. The latter a huge reason why Division I programs, all lower-level types, took notice of him in the first place.
None of this is new, mind you. The NCAA has been hurting how HBCUs can operate for decades. Within the current model the governing body enforces, the rich get richer while the poor are forever chasing the idea of money through some fictional prism known as amateurism.
This only amplifies the idea of the sport’s haves having the (not needed) edge over the have-nots.
Hell, forget about the multitude of other issues this rule implies. Put away the idea that the NCAA is partnering with the NBA, NBA Players Associations and US Basketball for the first time ever, which creates new agendas — the thing the NCAA swears is the issue with the AAU system.
Move the idea that the NCAA is not really doing this for the sake of the sport’s integrity, but as a way to monetize and profit off these events, to the wayside.
Focus on the idea that this archaic organization will hurt both smaller programs and players who won’t have the means to attend such events. Look at the simple math that dictates up-and-coming coaches like Ryan Ridder will now be forced to either battle with big boy schools while overseeing a MEAC program or have to attend normal high school games at inopportune times.
Oddly enough, if the NCAA just admitted what it actually oversees — big business — none of this would be an issue. Capitalism and all that jazz. But because it likes to pretend this charade of amateurism, as well as the theoretical fair-and-balanced practice, are ideals worth clutching, it’s publicly embracing a system that combats that notion on its very surface.
Not exactly shocking. The NCAA has no shame.
But hey, at least its beloved blue-blood programs, the NCAA’s moneymakers, the kind it only cares about in reality, won’t be that hurt by this move. After all, those are the only kind of programs the NCAA sincerely takes into account when making these kind of changes.
Now, someone, please explain to me how the community leaders who oversee AAU basketball are the bad guys here.
Joseph Nardone has been covering college basketball for nearly a decade for various outlets in a variety of ways. You can follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone.
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