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Rice Commission Releases Recommendations

Initial reaction: not as radical as we expected. We’ll be adding links and reactions as we find them.

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San Francisco v Gonzaga
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 05: Basketballs are shown in a ball rack before a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament between the San Francisco Dons and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Orleans Arena on March 5, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Bulldogs won 88-60.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Rice Commission’s report on college reform was released early Wednesday morning and has some strong recommendations. What we’ve seen so far focuses on these areas:

  • One and done
  • Enforcement
  • Agents
  • AAU and Summer leagues
  • Shoe companies

One-and-done is going to be hard to do without working with the NBA as the commission has acknowledged but the chair of the committee, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice says that “[o]ne-and-done has to go one way or another,” suggesting freshman ineligibility or locking scholarships for several years after a player leaves the program after just one season.

Strikingly, the commission wants to ban cheating coaches for life. That would be open to legal challenges we’d expect and it’s hard to imagine the coaches, who were instructed Tuesday to support the committee’s recommendations, being enthusiastic about this one since a significant percentage of them would put their jobs in jeopardy by doing so.

Level I violations would also result in the school’s forfeiting all NCAA revenue for the period of punishment.

Regulating agents just seems like common sense and letting players talk to them in high school is rational too.

The NCAA long ago defeated the AAU in their rivalry to control the sport (for one example, the AAU used to control a certain number of spots on the Olympic team) but the AAU came back in the last couple of decades with summer ball. The Commission would establish NCAA control over summer play for prospects as well.

That leads naturally into shoe companies, called apparel companies here. The Commission calls for greater transparency which is all they can do as far as the companies go. They could however enforce more with the schools.

The Commission also came out against paying players, saying that “[t]he goal should not be to turn college basketball into another professional league.”

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