In Coaches We Trust?
It's AAU basketball season, and slick moves are being made behind the scenes as well as on the court. While the nation's elite ballers showcase their skills, college coaches are competing for top talent in the recruiting arms race.
Summertime AAU tournaments are recruiting hotbeds within the NCAA basketball coaching ranks. These primetime events afford coaches the luxury of evaluating several top players in a single venue during the downtime between hoops seasons. But the key word is evaluate. NCAA rules and regulations designate July 6 to 15 and July 22 to 31 as Evaluation Periods for basketball, meaning coaches are allowed only to observe games at off-campus locations. That's it. No face-to-face contact. No schmoozing with parents. Not even a "Hi" in the hotel hallway.
But are the NCAA's no-contact rules being broken at AAU events? How many coaches are playing by the rules?
In a survey conducted in mid-July at the EYBA Peach Jam Tournament, ESPN polled 20 high-profile college coaches on the recruiting trail. With a promise of full anonymity, coaches shared their thoughts on the hot-button issues facing college basketball. Among the inquiries:
-What is your least favorite part of summer recruiting?
-How many of your coaching peers do you trust?
-How many programs do you believe are committing major NCAA recruiting violations?
-If you could land a top-five talent but had to break a major rule—with a guarantee of not getting caught—would you?
STACK's Take: It's important for student-athletes to learn and understand the rules on recruiting. (Get the answers to all your questions on the NCAA rules and regulations at STACK.com.)
If you're at an event and a coach approaches you during a non-contact period, handle the situation with courtesy and dignity. Politely decline to speak and ask to reconnect during a permitted time. While violating recruiting rules ultimately falls on the coach, the career you jeopardize may be your own.
Photo: Icon SMI