Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, February 07, 2005

The idea of banning male practice players has been, shall we say, not well received. Eric sees it as an example of Title IX norms run amok. Fans everywhere seem to agree that it's one of the stupidest proposals ever considered.

I have yet to hear any explanation (much less defense) of the idea. Which is why I'm pretty sure it will never happen. Which is why I'm not too worried.

But somewhere in basketball's committee-laden bureacracy, there is something more serious going on that merits more attention: the NCAA and the WBCA are taking on AAU.

Last year the NCAA invited the WBCA "to submit comprehensive proposed legislation" regarding recruiting and access in order to "improve student-athlete well-being and the culture of the sport." The WBCA formed a special committee on recruiting and access.

The committee has proposed various measures to accomplish several goals, one of which is to "minimiz[e] the impact of outside entities" such as AAU.

There are two specific proposals on the docket, available at this pdf.

2004-142 would prohibit Division I schools from hosting tournaments other than state high school tournaments.

The rationale: "Many nonscholastic event operators, who conduct events and tournaments on Division I campuses, have strong ties to apparel and equipment companies. These relationships heighten the perception that institutions with contractual commitments to such companies receive unfair recruiting advantages, particularly as they relate to the highly skilled prospects."

2004-146 would modify the recruiting calendar to prohibit evaluations at nonscholastic events during the prospective student's academic year.

The rationale: "The recent proliferation of nonscholastic activities and events where organizers attempted to showcase a prospect's talents for personal gain has created an unhealthy competitive environment in women's basketball and is creating an atmosphere where the temptation to compromise the rules is escalating. It also has placed unnecessary pressure on prospects to prepare for and attend these events during the academic year, potentially interfering with other academic commitments."

Needless to say, AAU and other club supporters are up in arms. Bill McDonough, who runs Philadelphia's Runnin' Rebels club team and owns BlueChip Basketball, contacted many coaches and urged them to oppose the measures. The WBCA sent this memo to coaches in response.

I respect the WBCA, and I tend to view club basketball with distrust, but I really don't know much about this issue. It's obviously an important one -- coaches, players, and parents should do their best to make their voices heard. We will stay tuned.