Commission On College Basketball Calls For Sweeping Reform

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An NCAA commission chaired by Condoleezza Rice and established a year ago to respond to federal prosecutors' charges of widespread bribery and corruption in college basketball proposed several reforms Wednesday that would alter the sport's texture without challenging the longtime requirement that the players be amateurs, uncompensated beyond a scholarship for their talents and efforts.

The list of people who benefit from the athletes' work also includes the NCAA itself. Furthermore, they also believe that coaches and college administrators should be contractually obligated to follow the rules.

For this reason, Rice expressed tacit approval for providing athletes with a cut of the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses, which is now before courts. "We recognize these are complex issues, and look forward to working out the details with the appropriate committees so that these recommendations will positively impact the student-athlete experience and the future of college basketball". "Regarding the NBA's draft eligibility rules, the National Basketball Association and NBPA will continue to assess them in order to promote the best interests of players and the game". The NCAA must appoint a Vice-President level executive to develop meaningful standards for NCAA certification and administer the program. The downside of essentially "forcing" the latter group to enroll in college for one year or less, she said, outweighed the good. Ten individuals were arrested in relation to the scandal including some collegiate basketball assistant coaches and some Adidas officials.

The 14-member commission included former Georgetown Coach John Thompson III, former NBA stars Grant Hill and David Robinson, former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery, athletic directors Gene Smith (Ohio State) and Jeremy Foley (Florida), and retired U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who is chairman of USA Basketball. Pitino has denied knowing about payments to any recruits.

With members of the panel seated on either side, Rice called on every stakeholder in college basketball - coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, boards of trustees, the NCAA, apparel companies, athletes and their parents - to "accept their culpability in getting us to where we are today".

Though this is a start, it will take a while before these changes are accepted, implemented and upheld. The commission also called on the NCAA to create a program for certifying agents and added that the NCAA, NBA, and USA Basketball should run its own summer tournaments and control summer events showcasing top talent.

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Bowen has said he wasn't aware of the alleged bribery plot, and that he only found out about it when the federal case emerged.

With a pro career as his clear priority, Bowen transferred to the University of SC in January and started a mandatory waiting period before is able to play in his first college game, perhaps sometime next season. There is still much work to be done in coordinating the significant effort to make basketball - at all levels of play - the very best it can be. In the meantime, as The State newspaper reports, Bowen will participate in the NBA Combine for potential draftees and await an NCAA decision on reinstating his eligibility.

The commission, Rice said was focused on strengthening "the college model", which centers on the value of athletes receiving a college education through scholarships. The allegations made a mockery of NCAA amateurism rules and painted a black mark on several of the most prominent basketball programs.

"All of us in college athletics should appreciate the excellent work of Dr. Rice and the Commission".

The NBA and NBPA said in response to the report, "We also share the Commission's concern with the current state of youth basketball".

Another change would target coaches who are repeat offenders - and the schools who hire them. He says the commission wants "to sound the death knell of the educational sham that is 'one-and-done.'" The one-and-done rule refers to players being eligible for the draft at 19 years old, prompting many talented players to play one year of college when they'd rather go pro right away.

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