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Looks Like Major Recruiting Reforms Are Getting Closer

But will they work? Or will the great river of money just continue to flow around the NCAA dams?

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FloSports: FloHoops EYBL Finals at Peach Jam
Jul 15, 2018; North Augusta, SC, USA; During the EYBL Finals at Peach Jam at Riverview Park.
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

According to CBS’s Matt Norlander, the basic parameters of recruiting reform are set.

The major points:

  • The NCAA will hold camps at the end of July and invite the best seniors and juniors and a few sophomores. No freshmen.
  • The events currently held by Adidas and Under Armour will be supplanted. They could move them to compete directly with Peach Jam, which will continue after coaches screamed bloody murder about losing the premier evaluation event.
  • May will be a quiet month but the last two weeks of June will be for evaluation. It won’t be AAU teams though: it’ll be a more regional focus with high school teammates playing together although it’s not clear if they’re going to actually represent their schools.

There are a lot of things that are still unclear.

Take a Triangle AAU program, Garner Road. If Garner Road wanted to go to (hypothetically) Peach Jam and Vegas, the bills are paid, in some combination, by the program and the shoe companies at least insofar as apparel is paid for. We’re not sure exactly how it all works but it costs money to take a bunch of kids on the road (and this is part of the problem from the NCAA’s point of view).

In the NCAA model, who is going to pay for equipment and lodging? We’ve seen a few articles where kids make it very clear that one of the allures for them is the swag they take away. Is the NCAA buying shoes? What about Gatorade? Who pays for meals?

The AAU/apparel business structure, for all of its issues, manages most of this fairly smoothly, even allowing for a certain level of collateral corruption to the NCAA’s amateurism model.

SBNation’s Mike Rutherford argues that the people who are going to lose the most are the kids who are marginal when they’re 15 and 16 but who have something that a perceptive coach sees in summer play and thinks can be developed.

We’re not sure how those guys will advertise themselves after this. It’s going to take some creativity. Some good video could help.

Two guys who ended up at Duke in the ‘70s found attention in radically different ways.

For an unknown Kenny Dennard, it was at a summer camp when people still played on asphalt. Dennard decided the best way to get attention was to dive on the asphalt as often as humanly possible and yes, he got a lot of attention (and band-aids).

For Mike Tissaw, it was simpler. He was at Howard Garfinkel’s Five Star Camp and when Garf went around to meet the kids at dinner, Tissaw was the only one who stood up to shake his hand and said yes,sir.

Garf was so impressed that he put Tissaw on some elite lists and soon enough Duke came calling.

Even in those cases though the coaches were there. YouTube is immensely useful, but it has its limits.

If things do end up this way, what coaches are going to need is lots of eyes in lots of places and trusted evaluators. It’s kind of a retro vision. You know who used to do that?

Al Lewis.

That’s right, Grandpa Munster. He really knew basketball, knew where the players were...and he knew how the money flowed around too. He was a serious player in college basketball circles. Hey, if Elton Brand is still into the business, could someone pitch this to him for a movie project? It’s a compelling story.

Sadly, Grandpa Munster is gone, but there are plenty of vampires who’d be happy to continue his work.

Little known facts: not only did Lewis go to protest the Sacco-Vanzetti trial as a young boy (very young - they were convicted in 1920 and executed in 1927, when Lewis was just four - his mother took him), he apparently also wrote the lyrics to the song Blueberry Hill. He certainly led an interesting life.

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