Change is in the wind for college hoops recruiting

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As of an October 27th meeting of the NCAA’s Leadership Council, the college basketball recruiting model could end up looking completely different. The proposed changes?:

– Allowing unlimited communication via call, text, email, etc beginning June 15th of a prospects sophomore year.

– Contact will be allowed during the July evaluation period.

– Contact can be made with juniors at the prospects school in every month except for April. During April, college programs can do in-home visits.

– Official visits will be allowed beginning January 1st of the prospects junior year. During those visits travel expenses may be provided to the prospect and two parents or legal guardians

– The July evaluation period will be broken down to three four-day periods for a total of 12 days. The periods will run from Wednesday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 5 p.m. The dates have not been determined.

– College coaches will be allowed to go to sanctioned events in April.

Although the dates have not been determined the thought is the April evaluations periods will be two weekends beginning Friday evening and running through Sunday afternoon.

These changes are, without a doubt, a good thing for the sport. That at least seems to be the consensus according to the recruitniks.

More access for college coaches is a good thing. The biggest reason is the most straight-forward — evaluations. More than 400 players transferred schools this summer, and not all those transfers were due to the kids not liking the choice of classes offered by their school’s english department. Evaluating talent is one of the biggest problems on the recruiting circuit. Determining whether a player is good enough — or will eventually be good enough — to play at a certain level not an easy thing to do when you watch every game he plays over the course of four years. Coaches have to make those decisions while watching them play generally meaningless games of glorified streetball against overmatched opponents for one month out of the year. Bringing back time to recruit in April allows the coaches to see the progression. Whether a player has the work ethic to reach their potential is just as important as determining whether a 5’11” scorer can play the point.

The other positive that access will bring about is that it will create more avenues for coaches to recruit the player and his family. The way the current system is setup, coaches have to go through middle men to get in contact with the player or pull a Kelvin Sampson and break the rules on limiting phone communication. (Its been said a million times, but in the smart phone era, there is no difference between a text message, an email and a DM on twitter.) I’ll give you an example. I was at an AAU Tournament this year and I was talking to a scout there who was texting the entire day with a Division I head coach trying to get updates on a player he was recruiting. That player committed to the school the week after the tournament ended. This wasn’t a high-major recruit. Imagine who a coach has to talk to in order to stay updated on a McDonald’s all-american

Justin Young makes an interesting point in this — more communication between coaches and players will allow them to establish a relationship prior to that player arriving on campus. It will allow coaches to bring in players that fit his team’s chemistry and personality.

None of this is official yet, but the sense you get is that having this rules passed is merely a formality at this point. We all destroy the NCAA for their shortcomings. We should also give them credit when they get one right.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.