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Institutions that don’t report secondary violations … former student-athletes who hang around their college program talking with current student-athletes … parents who relocate cross-country when their child enrolls … clinics that invite only coaches recruiting a specific prospect.
NCAA Vice President Julie Roe Lach shared best practices for monitoring athletics during yesterday’s enforcement session.
NCAA Vice President Julie Roe Lach said at Friday’s educational session that those are red flags for her enforcement staff.
The special session for Division I administrators examined current trends, particularly in amateurism, gambling and men’s basketball recruiting, and how to improve monitoring in those areas.
Lach encouraged institutions to report all secondary violations because it shows that institutions are monitoring their program effectively. That is taken into account if there’s a major infractions case.
Other presenters included Rachel Newman Baker, NCAA director of agents, gambling and amateurism, who noted trends her staff has seen recently, including an increase in third parties who insert themselves into the lives of prospective student-athletes in an attempt to make money off the recruitment and eventual professional career of the prospect.
“Part of the problem is that no one has jurisdiction over (third parties),” Newman Baker said. “They can look like student-athletes and even be former student-athletes. The former players have access to facilities; they can hang out with current student-athletes. You might not know when it’s a problem.”
Newman Baker said these third parties are often responsible for arranging interviews with agents, obtaining additional disability insurance for elite student-athletes, collecting memorabilia and connecting student-athletes with party promoters. Often, the third parties can be current NFL players who receive reduced agent fees or outright compensation for their involvement.
The involvement of assistant coaches is another priority for the AGA staff, as well as student-athlete attendance at pre-combine training facilities, training that can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.
LuAnn Humphrey, director of the two-year-old Basketball Focus Group, told session attendees that her staff has been heavily involved in outreach and education for the past several years. That outreach has helped the group create a database that tracks not only possible violations but also men’s basketball prospects, who they are including in their circle and institutions that are recruiting them.
“We were told that if you start connecting the dots, you will make some inroads,” Humphrey said. “This database has gone a long way in helping us connect those dots. The more people we have educated about these recruiting problems – the more eyes and ears we have in this environment – the more effective we will be.”
Humphrey said the group will spend more time monitoring and investigating this year. One of the top concerns is the packages provided to recruits and their families as a condition of signing or enrolling with a particular school. Parental relocations are an issue of concern, and several investigations are underway in that regard.
Another red flag Humphrey said to look out for is nonqualifiers or transfer student-athletes in the local vicinity or on campus before competing for that school. Institutions should monitor how they are paying for tuition, transportation and living expenses, she said.
Humphrey said another major area of concern for her staff is camps and clinics, especially coaches who are asked to speak at a clinic that is held by people attached to a recruit. If the camp can advertise the presence of a big-name coach, it can make more money. The BFG is working with institutions to identify which clinics might be suspect.
Lach also talked about working with the American Football Coaches Association to develop a more significant set of penalties for football coaches who violate recruiting rules. Normally, these infractions would go through the secondary violation process, but the AFCA and enforcement staff are working together to ramp up penalties for such violations.