In an effort to strike back against the summer circuit's rampant corruption, the NCAA announced Thursday that four prominent AAU teams will not be allowed to participate in the July evaluation period due to ties to an agent.
The NCAA made the decision based on an email from agent Andy Miller to four directors, T.J. Gassnola (New England Playaz), Matt Ramker (Florida Rams), Desmond Eastmond (Worldwide Renegades) and Tony Edwards (SEBL Elite All-Stars). In the language of a seventh-grader sending a text message, Miller chides those four men for not recruiting enough future NBA draft picks for him in return for his financial support for their teams.
"I get tired of being the 1 guy that has to get the 1st rd [sic] picks every year," the email stated. "I'd be happy to help you get guys + lend support. You have to want it + have to hustle. To create situations to manifest chaos + plow down walls to open up new opp's [sic].
"We're facing a summer with no revenue. Yet, everyone will expect their checks, expenses reimburse [sic], etc. I try to give a consistant [sic] platform in order [sic] to facilitate production. Am I getting the level of production in return that I want or expect?...You decided to be apart [sic] of it on some level…Do more than just give it thought, act on it."
While the email is an ideal window into the behind-the-scenes relationships between AAU programs, college coaches and agents, its contents shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has paid even cursory attention to the summer circuit. Really the only shock — besides Miller's inability to conjugate verbs or spell words with three or more syllables — is that a powerful agent would be careless enough to leave a paper trail damning enough to land him in hot water.
The NCAA's method of policing the AAU circuit stems from its ability to dictate which July evaluation period events college coaches are allowed to attend in person.
Non-scholastic basketball teams associated with agents are prohibited from competing in NCAA-certified summer basketball events. If an event allowed one of these teams to participate, the NCAA could pull its certification, preventing college coaches from being able to attend and likely causing top teams to play elsewhere.
While Thursday's punishment from the NCAA sounds harsh, in reality it probably has only minimal impact.
The eligibility of the players on the four AAU teams to play in July is not in question. The SEBL Elite All-Stars can remain together as long as they disassociate with Edwards, their coach. Players from the other three teams can still play on a different AAU team or reform the same team under another name as long as they can prove to the NCAA that Gassnola, Ramker and Eastmond are no longer involved in any capacity.