Recently passed NCAA rules requiring tougher academic admission standards for incoming athletes are discriminatory and will hurt basketball programs around the country, according to three of the Final Four coaches.
Speaking during a telephone news conference today, Louisville's Denny Crum, Louisiana State's Dale Brown and Kansas' Larry Brown agreed that recruiting and the general caliber of college basketball will suffer as a result of the rules, which eventually will require a score of 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and a 2.0 grade-point average (out of 4.0) in a specified core curriculum for incoming freshmen.
"I think it's going to have an impact on the game for the next two or three years," Crum said. "I think the quality will go down, and anyone who thinks it isn't going to have an impact on them is kidding themselves. The core curriculum rule I applaud, but I think the SAT rule is discriminatory."
Brown of Kansas said he immediately felt the effect of the rules on the Jayhawks.
"We're already suffering here," he said. "A couple of the kids we signed early are already facing problems with their scores right now."
The lone dissenter was Mike Krzyzewski of Duke. The Blue Devils are already restricted in recruiting because Duke's admissions standards for incoming student athletes are so stringent. But Crum said, "It's going to affect Mike, too. There will be more people going after the kinds of kids he recruits that much harder."
Krzyzewski is the only coach coming to Dallas who has not been to a Final Four before. To compensate for his lack of experience, he said today that he has been in touch with his former coach, Bobby Knight, for whom he played at Army, and with North Carolina State's Jim Valvano, who parlayed his 1983 national championship into big business.
"I'm too excited to feel pressure," Krzyzewski said. "I don't think it's a pressure event; the pressure is in getting there. I talked to Knight in detail about preparation, and I talked to Jimmy Valvano about how to sell things before and after.
"V will be there, but we'll have him in camouflage. Maybe he'll be selling something on a street corner. It'll be a contest: Find Jimmy V in Dallas. The winner gets a prize. Anyway, I'm giving him 85 percent of everything."
All four coaches were asked what they would be doing if they weren't coaching. Krzyzewski, the West Point graduate, said, "I'd be leading troops in Libya."
Dale Brown: "I've already been a shoeshine boy and a taxi driver. I don't know."
Larry Brown: "I got into coaching so I wouldn't have to work for a living."