NCAA Board of Directors approves new recruiting rules

By Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 30, 2009

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved Thursday a new set of recruiting restrictions intended to stop men's basketball coaches from attempting to gain access to prospects for a price.

The reform package is the latest step by the NCAA to keep pace with individuals who look for loopholes in recruiting rules and to address the growing number of ways in which money is funneled to individuals associated with prospects. NCAA officials promise to hold coaches accountable by suspending violators from postseason or even regular season play.

"It provides a bright line for our coaches in respect to the acts and conduct that are now prohibited," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in a teleconference.

Reaction among college coaches has been mixed. Miami Coach Frank Haith questioned how the NCAA would enforce some of the rules but said the legislation is "important to clean our game up a little bit."

Georgia Tech Coach Paul Hewitt said the problems the rules address are legitimate but not as prevalent as what has been described in the media.

"The perception is out there that every college coach is out there and doing something bad or illegal, and that's not the case," Hewitt said. "I just think we overreact a lot."

Among other goals, the legislation specifically will prohibit schools from hiring individuals close to a prospect to work at the schools' elite basketball camps, a practice that has become common in recent years.

Maryland Coach Gary Williams said he supports rules that prohibit schools from offering payments sometimes in excess of $10,000 to individuals close to a prospect to work at that school's camp. But Hewitt took issue with the crackdown on elite camps because he believes working at such camps has been a way many young coaches -- including himself -- entered the profession.

"Now, if you have a prospect, they are basically saying you can't work the camp," Hewitt said. "I am not sure that is the right thing to do. And then you start going down this road of legislating how much money you can pay somebody to work a camp; it is not right and we should not be doing it."

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