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College Basketball commission recommends harsher punishments, ending one-and-done, and more

While largely the report was “meh,” there were some good ideas.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Texas A&M vs Providence Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball announced their recommendations this morning after seven months of planning and research. The commission was formed in response to the FBI reports that led to 10 arrests and several coaches, most notably Rick Pitino, being fired.

Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, read the recommendations live at 8:00 a.m., and while nothing was jaw-dropping there are some interesting ideas.

Feel free to watch the video of the announcement, but below is a summary of the recommendations that will be considered by NCAA officials.

1. Ending one-and-done players in college

Of course, this is not necessarily a recommendation to the NCAA. The reason that so many one-and-done players exist in college is due to NBA eligibility requirements. Although the NBA has been clear that they are moving toward changing those requirements and effectively ending the one-and-done era, the commission’s recommendations went a step further.

If the NBA rules change in the next few years, then the commission would consider the issue “fixed.” But if the NBA drags their feet or decides not to change the rule, the commission has recommended that the NCAA take steps to eliminate the one-and-done culture.

According to Rice in the recommendations announcement, the commission wants the NCAA to consider a version of the “baseball rule” that would require players to stay in college for multiple years once signing with a school. While I would love to see the NCAA tournament filled with developed juniors and seniors, this is absolutely not good for the players that could make a living professionally.

The second suggestion for the NCAA to consider was removing freshman eligibility, reverting to a pre-1972 system where freshman had to play at a “junior varsity” level before being eligible to play for the official college team.

While the baseball rule is bad, the freshman eligibility rule is even worse. So let’s all hope that the NBA saves us from either of those atrocities.

2. Harsher punishments

Where there is flexibility for the NCAA to levy a variety of punishments for various rule violations, there are different levels of violations in the rule book. The commission has recommended a mandatory five year postseason ban for any school that commits a Level 1 violation.

That is big news, as many of these schools have gotten slapped on the wrist in the past. Certainly none of them have seen a penalty as harsh as a five year ban. This could be a big change that should deter schools from toeing the line of those Level 1 violations, but if history tells us anything it is that the NCAA does not love consistency in sanctions.

3. Independent investigators

This is the first of many “no-brainer” recommendations. Create a system where individuals not invested in the outcome serve as impartial investigators for major violations. This would create greater transparency and likely move more efficiently.

4. More agents

The commission presented the idea of providing agents to players, as early as high school, to help them navigate both recruitment and eligibility throughout their college careers.

This would be a huge benefit to players. And in a list of recommendations that is not at all focused on the athletes, this suggestion should quickly become a priority.

5. Draft eligibility

This one should have been done a long time ago. The NCAA should allow players to enter into the draft and later decide to return to the college if they go undrafted.

I feel like allowing players to participate in the NBA Draft Combine, which was only decided a few years ago, was a step in this direction. The natural next step is to allow them to see if they actually get picked while maintaining college eligibility. This is one of the few recommendations that could be acted upon as early as next spring.

6. Clean up summer

Summer basketball is completely run by AAU programs and shoe companies. While the commission does not want summer basketball to go away, they do recommend that the NBA, NCAA, and USA Basketball collaborate to oversee summer competition for high school athletes.

Even if this happens, it is doubtful that shoe companies will be removed from the picture. Too much money on the line to keep them out of the conversation. But if this could clean up some of the sleaze surrounding these AAU tournaments, then I would be down for giving it a shot.

7. Financial transparency from shoe companies

While this recommendation is likely to happen as a result of the FBI investigation instead of the commission’s report, it is still a good idea. Since the FBI case has focused on laundering of money by shoe company executives, increased transparency of their spending could take a lot of pressure away from other parts of the recruiting process and eligibility investigations.

All in all, there is nothing mind-blowing about these recommendations. Some of them could be easy fixes, some are unlikely to ever happen, and a few (namely removing freshman eligibility) may be the worst ideas ever uttered.

Overall, my reaction was kind of “meh,” especially since it took seven months to develop. But we can all hope that at least having the conversations around these recommendations will lead to some real change.

Any of these ideas that you love? Any that you hate?