Early Midnight Madness was such an egregious problem that the NCAA passed "emergency" legislation to forbid it.
That's right, fans. It's worse than paying the parents of players to speak at camps, worse than referee conflicts of interest, worse than the stupid rule forbidding establishments from allowing players to come into a nightclub without paying a cover charge, worse than not being able to figure out who represents a university's interests and who doesn't and worse than forbidding schools to give their athletes dietary supplements.
Let's here it from Myles "the Man" Brand himself:
“If we wanted it to start a week earlier, we would have scheduled it a week earlier,” Brand said in a conference call. “When we passed the legislation, it was to work with student-athletes, and it was done at the request of the coaches so they had a better opportunity to work with the kids. A few coaches took advantage of it by holding a big celebratory event a week early and get an edge in recruiting.”
As they guy who played the PGA commissioner in Happy Gilmore said, "Well, whoop-de-doo." The NCAA is largely responsible for the fact that coaches look for every opportunity to get a recruiting advantage. The sit in their ivory tower proclaiming their moral and ethical superiority while taking advantage of college athletes to pad the pockets of themselves and their member institutions.
Not that I have a problem with that in and of itself, but let's be honest -- if we are going to demand that athletes take on the appearance of being actually interested in going to college for the purpose of obtaining an education while enforcing bizarre and arcane rules preventing even the sort of nominal discounts that everyday people can get for just being a female, the very least we can do is acknowledge the reality that forcing everyone to do Midnight Madness on the same night is a recruiting disadvantage for every school not currently on the "hot" list. You would think the NCAA would care about that, but all they really care about is maximizing revenue and giving the appearance of being a moral and ethical model -- in my opinion, an effort in which they fail miserably. The NABC is inarguably culpable in this particular case, badgering the NCAA to take this action to fix the evil Darth Gillispie, whom as we all know is bent on the ruination of college basketball.
And then there is this:
The board also discussed three potentially contentious topics – starting an Academic Progress Report for individual coaches, creating stronger penalties for major NCAA violations and reducing the window for college athletes to withdraw from the NBA draft.
Oh, those are great ideas. Now, we are going to pass rules that put scarlet letters on coaches (who's jobs are about as secure as Windows 95) and force recruits considering entering the NBA to make an even less informed decision under the rubric of making it easier on coaches. One hand giveth, the other hand taketh away -- but aren't we taking away from the guys, namely the athletes, the NCAA is charged with "protecting?"
The NCAA under Myles Brand has been a self-parody. It has almost no enforcement, is ridiculously over-funded (to the tune of $500 million/year) for what it does, and pays its president (the aforementioned Brand) almost $1 million per year -- to do what, make rules that even modestly educated people could improve upon? Worse, the organization can't even figure out what it's true mission is, figuring that social advocacy is an important part of its goals as well as managing student athletes. Is this what they mean by the term, "mission creep?"
This is just one more in a long line of failures by the NCAA to ignore the truly important and address the almost irrelevant, this time with "emergency" legislation. Oh, I get it, they are afraid that teams might hold Midnight Madness in January, so they have to do it now -- to what end nobody can guess, but there you go. It truly boggles the mind.
Brand and the NCAA as well as the NABC, which is becoming more and more activist lately, aught to be embarrassed by this. I doubt they are, but they should be. Or maybe I'll just have to be embarrassed for them. This was nothing more than a ploy to dramatize the trivial, and it is absolutely ridiculous in every possible way. All involved in this "process" have, in this writer's opinion, behaved shamefully.