Report: Coaches ordered to endorse Rice commission's NCAA hoops changes regardless of what they are

Coaches have reportedly been directed to publicly endorse the findings of Condoleeza Rice’s college basketball committee whether they agree with them or not. (AP)

On Wednesday, the NCAA Commission on College Basketball will release its recommendations on changing a game enshrouded in corruption and scandal.

NCAA president Mark Emmert formed the commission last fall in the wake of the pay-for-play sneaker scandal that cast a pall over the college basketball season and continues to surface additional layers of malfeasance.

“We must take decisive action,” Emmert said in October when the committee was formed. “This is not the time for half-measures or incremental change.”

Emmert pegged former U.S. Secretary of State and member of the College Football Playoff selection committee Condoleeza Rice to chair the committee, which is made up of ex-college and NBA greats David Robinson and Grant Hill along with college presidents, athletic directors and an attorney. There are no current college basketball coaches on the commission.

The committee is tasked with addressing the following, per the NCAA:

  • Apparel companies and other commercial entities, to establish an environment where they can support programs in a transparent way, but not become an inappropriate or distorting influence on the game, recruits or their families.
  • Nonscholastic basketball, with a focus on the appropriate involvement of college coaches and others.
  • Agents or advisors, with an emphasis on how students and their families can get legitimate advice without being taken advantage of, defrauded or risking their NCAA eligibility.

Details about its findings are sparse, with little known about what Rice’s committee plans to unveil during Wednesday’s media conference. Despite that fact, Sporting News reported on Tuesday that coaches are expected to publicly support the committee’s findings, regardless of what they are.

Sporting News obtained a letter sent Tuesday from the the National Association of Basketball Coaches sent to its member coaches pressuring them to put up a united front in support of the Rice committee’s recommendations.

From the report:

Under the heading, “A Message to NCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches, the document signed by NABC executive director Jim Haney and deputy director Reggie Minton declares, “In short, it is imperative that the Commission’s recommendations be met with unequivocal support from each of us. … There may be recommendations that each of us likes and there may be others that are met with some concern.”

How coaches receive the strong-arm tactic from the NABC won’t likely be known until after Wednesday’s reveal. In addition to the NABC’s demand for compliance, it also delivered vague talking points for coaches to use while addressing the committee’s findings with the media, per Sporting News:

— “Change was necessary, and we knew that change was coming. As coaches on the front lines, we are uniquely positioned to offer valuable insight as the Commission’s recommendations progress through the legislative process.”
— “As coaches, we are committed to working with the NCAA in evaluating the recommendations and will provide appropriate input as legislation is drafted.”
— “We are appreciative of the Commission’s efforts to address necessary change, and for welcoming the input of the NABC.

It will be interesting to see how coaches respond after Wednesday’s recommendations are made. If there is a united, supportive front from coaches in the media, we’ll know the source of their stance.

In the meantime, it’s evident that the NCAA can’t put together a committee to address scandal in college basketball without embedding corruption into the process.

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