INDIANAPOLIS – In response to the Rice Commission Report on College Basketball, NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner offers the following comments on some of the suggestions from the Commission, particularly those that would impact the 51 NFHS member state associations and the high school basketball community.
First, the NFHS commends the NCAA and the Rice Commission for its thoughtful examination of the status of NCAA Division I men’s basketball and its recommendations to provide meaningful changes. Overall, we believe the Rice Commission offered some suggestions that will improve the collegiate model.
The specialness of college basketball is not just that it is “amateur,” but also that it is “education-based.” We agree with the Rice Commission that both attributes are important to the game’s future. Preserving and promoting the education-based aspect of the game calls for the high school and college levels to support one another.
As the NCAA considers implementation of these proposals, however, we have concerns in some areas and urge that thought be given to the high school landscape. As an example, we are concerned that “certified agents” meeting with high school student-athletes could be disruptive to high school teams. Although we understand the need to have all college prospects obtain information regarding their potential, the high school community should be involved in determining when and where this would be promoted.
Another concern from the Commission’s report is the June evaluation period for “scholastic” events. We would like to see what roles our member state associations and high school coaches would play in that evaluation period. Further, we still believe that limiting recruiting to the high school season would be the most effective tool in eliminating the unsavory outside influencers.
We support the requirements of education as a part of non-scholastic events and that participation in such events require students making appropriate academic progress towards initial college eligibility.
We look forward to working with the NCAA to bring about important change.