By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
In its first-ever electronic override vote, Division I members decided to retain legislation that prevents an institution from hosting, sponsoring or conducting a nonscholastic basketball practice or game in which men’s basketball prospects participate on its campus or at an off-campus facility it uses regularly.
The proposal was intended to address a proliferation of nonscholastic men’s basketball events held on Division I campuses during quiet periods, especially in May and June.
To be successful, 62.5 percent of those voting needed to support the override. When polls closed, 58.59 percent of 355 schools voting were in favor of the override.
Those who don’t want those events (that is, supporters of the proposal) say they are being planned and operated to help institutions with recruiting but that college coaches are being leveraged to help event operators arrange for discounted operational costs under the threat that event operators will take the event (and all of the prospects) to another institution’s campus.
The Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee opposed the override, agreeing that recruiting advantages were significant for schools that host such events.
The Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet sponsored similar legislation for the 2011-12 cycle relating to women’s basketball at the request of the Women’s Basketball Issues Committee and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The membership’s vote on the override of men’s basketball issue will be instructive to the Legislative Council in that regard.
Schools that submitted override requests cited the loss of revenue potential as their primary concern.
“The scope of this legislation is far too broad and its impact does more than just limit illegitimate groups from using an institution’s facility,” Rice assistant athletics director for compliance Michael Dean wrote in the electronic comment section. “Across the country, athletics departments and institutions are facing serious budget cuts. With this legislation, a critical piece of possible revenue is eliminated.”
Supporters of the override also pointed the proposal’s inclusion of off-campus facilities used regularly by the school’s men’s basketball team. That prohibition was an overreach and requires institutions to control outside facilities, they argue.
That proposal received 35 override requests, but the Legislative Council and Board of Directors both voted to maintain support of its earlier action.
Division I adopted legislation in April to allow override votes to be conducted electronically rather than in person at the NCAA Convention. The electronic process included a ten-day window for comments from supporters and those who oppose the legislation. Voting began December 12 and closed December 16.