Some of the best high school basketball players from the most prominent schools in the country are no longer able to be seen by college coaches in June, according to ESPN Staff Writer Jeff Borzello.
The NCAA implemented a plethora of new recruiting rules back in August due to the influx of corruption surrounding college basketball recruiting. Part of these changes involved moving the July evaluation periods, as well as adding two weekends in June for college coaches to watch recruits.
The purpose of these new rules was to allow coaches more opportunities to see recruits than in the past, and in different settings than the usual AAU events.
However, there’s a problem.
The NCAA has partnered with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in choosing one association per state that is eligible to be seen by college coaches in June.
“At the NCAA’s request, the NFHS was asked to develop criteria for the June Scholastic Basketball Evaluation Events -- both with regard to hosting the events in education-based settings and parameters for participation in the events,” the NFHS said in a statement provided to ESPN. “With the task of bringing recruiting back into the scholastic environment, the criteria were developed by a subcommittee of NFHS-member state association representatives and NFHS staff members with input from the National High School Basketball Coaches Association (NHSBCA).”
Therefore, the NCAA uses the NFSH’s criteria and only the schools that are NFHS members can participate in the June evaluation period. This limits college coaches to watching just one member school association per state.
Let me give you an example of what this would look like in Kentucky: the Jefferson County Public School system becomes the state’s recognized member of the NFHS. Only public schools in Jefferson County would then be eligible to participate in the June evaluation period. Private schools in Jefferson County and every other school across the state would be ineligible to participate in June, thus unable to be seen and recruited by college coaches.
That’s just an example of what it would be like in Kentucky. It’s already affecting some of the most prominent basketball schools in the country: Paul VI, Bishop O’Connell, and Oak Hill Academy (all in Virginia); and La Lumiere School (Indiana).
Oak Hill is home to some of the best basketball players in the world, former and current. Some Oak Hill alumni include Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, as well as former Kentucky players Rajon Rondo, Doron Lamb, and Ron Mercer, and current Kentucky Wildcat Keldon Johnson.
La Lumiere has produced a lot of talent, too. The infamous Brian Bowen, who was part of the reason these new rules were implemented, and Jaren Jackson, Jr. both attended La Lumiere. It is also the home to two current Kentucky targets Keion Brooks and Isaiah Stewart.
The NFHS has one member association per state, including Washington D.C., totaling 51 across the country. There are “affiliate associations,” but they aren’t considered members. A number of the associations include both public and private schools, but there are a lot that are compromised of public-only and don’t include private or independent schools.
“They’re taking away an opportunity to be seen,” one high school coach told ESPN. “There’s a whole class of kids not able to be seen. They deserve the same opportunity as everyone else.”
The new rules were put in place with good intentions, but the consequences will affect college coaches and high school recruits everywhere.