Friday, October 30, 2009

Lowe has mixed feelings about recruiting rules

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe is glad to see the NCAA trying to clean up men’s basketball recruiting, but also is concerned that in some cases the college sports governing body is throwing out the baby with the bath water.

On Thursday, the Division I Board of Directors approved rules meant to stop college programs from funneling money to associates of recruits. College coaches who run afoul of the rules could be suspended from postseason or even regular-season games.

Here are some things the NCAA is targeting:

- Hiring associates of recruits to non-coaching staff positions at their schools, and employing them at camps and clinics.

- Donating to non-profits (Summer club basketball programs for top high school-aged players often are run as nonprofits.

- Subscribing to recruiting services that don’t provide much useful information (these services sometimes are run by club basketball coaches).

It appears the rules would have prevented Baylor, for example, from hiring Dwon Clifton to a director of player development position. Clifton was serving as the club coach for Greensboro-based D-One Sports, which had highly recruited guard John Wall of Raleigh on its roster.

Wall went to Kentucky despite Baylor’s hiring of Clifton.

"I think what they’re trying to do is eliminate any wrongdoing, and for that, it’s hard to question the NCAA and what they’re trying to do,” Lowe said. “There certainly needs to be something done to get a hold of it.”

At the same time, Lowe laments the loss of opportunities for high school or club coaches who are doing things the right way to get a foot in the door at college programs.

"That’s a tough deal because you do have some high school coaches and you do have some AAU guys who do a nice job with their program,” Lowe said. “A lot of them are striving to become college basketball coaches. If you, I guess, discriminate against them, how do they ever get an opportunity to move to the next level?”

Although some deserving, up-and-coming coaches might be adversely affected, conference commissioners, that Amateur Athletic Union and basketball coaches backed the proposal, according to the NCAA. Lowe understands, but he also has reservations.

"I think it’s tough,” he said. “I know what they’re trying to do, and definitely there needs to be something done about the stuff that’s going on, but I think. . .it would really impact some people that probably are unfairly judged.”

Ken Tysiac