INDIANAPOLIS - Moving quickly to curb high-profile abuses in recruiting, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors has adopted a package of initiatives to reform the way member institutions attract student-athletes to their campuses.
The Board of Directors approved recommendations advanced by the NCAA Task Force on Recruiting, created earlier this year in the wake of allegations that some universities were using alcohol, sex and other inappropriate behavior to recruit prospects.
The Division I Management Council endorsed the recommendations last month.
Robert Hemenway, chair of the Division I Board of Directors and chancellor of the University of Kansas, said six task force recommendations were approved as emergency legislation to take effect immediately.
"This package is intended to put an end to the celebrity atmosphere that has developed around the recruiting visit," Hemenway said." Recruiting visits must be designed so that student-athletes can evaluate the entire campus environment to find the best academic and athletic program for them."
NCAA President Myles Brand stressed that the use of alcohol, sex and other inappropriate or illegal behavior in recruiting will not be tolerated, and he noted the speed with which the Association acted to address these abuses.
"There are times when the Association needs to respond swiftly to circumstances that threaten the education of student-athletes and the integrity of college sports, "Brand said." This action shows that our membership is seriously concerned about preserving the well being of student-athletes and eliminating the sense of entitlement that unfortunately has developed in the recruiting process."
The following measures approved by the Board of Directors take effect immediately:
Campuses must develop written policies that specifically prohibit inappropriate or illegal behavior in recruiting. Policies must be approved by campus presidents or chancellors by December 1, and be on file with conference offices. The current policies of member institutions must be on file in their conference office (or the NCAA for independent institutions) prior to bringing any prospect to campus for an official visit in the 2004-05 academic year. The NCAA reserves the right to investigate major recruiting violations under this measure.
Institutions cannot use private or chartered airplanes when transporting prospects; instead, they must use commercial air travel at coach-class fares.
Campuses must use standard vehicles to transport prospective student-athletes and those accompanying them on official visits.
Prospects and their parents or legal guardians must be housed in standard lodging and offered standard meals similar to those offered on campus.
Student hosts must be current student-athletes or students who conduct visits or tours as part of the admissions process. Gender-specific groups will be allowed if they are organized consistent with an institution's overall campus visit program.
Institutions cannot use personalized recruiting aides (such as jerseys or scoreboard presentations) or game-day simulations during campus visits. Prospects can visit the locker room before or after a game or stand on the sidelines during pre-game activities under this measure.
Hemenway said the Board of Directors directed NCAA staff to create a mechanism to deal with waivers because of extraordinary circumstances that may occur related to these measures.
Two other recommendations from the recruiting task force were introduced into the 2004-05 NCAA legislative cycle last month by the NCAA Division I Management Council. The Management Council and Board of Directors could take final action on those measures in April 2005.
The first would allow institutions to pay the cost of airfare for one parent or legal guardian to accompany a prospect during an official visit. This measure is intended to help student-athletes and their families assess the overall campus environment. The second would reduce the number of official visits from five to four. Current data show that most basketball and football prospects are not using the full number of visits.
In other action, the Board of Directors approved legislation related to Division I membership requirements. Specifically, the Board approved an amendment regarding penalties for institutions that do not meet Division I-A membership requirements in a given year.
Under this measure, institutions would first be subject to a "notice of failure." Any further failure to meet membership requirements within 10 years will result in an institution being placed in restricted membership.