October 22, 2010
NEW YORK — They are looking for communication and some bargaining at this point.
Many coaches at yesterday's Atlantic 10 media day were so beaten down and flabbergasted at the prospect of losing their July recruiting period (two 10-day visiting windows within the month), they're now hoping for alternatives. There's also belief among some that the Conference Commissioners Association (CCA) will reconsider a complete wipeout or, if legislation does pass, the NCAA's voting membership can override the vote.
Either way, there are alternatives to dropping a nuke on the biggest recruiting month of the year.
"Take some days away from July because it's too long of a period," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "Kids are running on empty by the time the July period ends. And I'd say add a weekend in April. Add Memorial Day weekend. Add a weekend in the spring where we can do our homework. ... So when July comes, we sort of know what [a recruit] is like rather than rely on a Scout.com, Rivals.com, ESPN.com."
Brian Gregory, Dayton's head coach, was light-hearted about how the news was delivered to him, when he was taken aback by the message in his inbox earlier this week. He wants answers that still haven't been clearly delivered and alternatives to losing a big chunk of scouting time.
"I had no idea," Gregory said. "I got an e-mail from the NABC, from coach (Tom) Izzo, and I was like, He could've called me." Gregory paused, then said, "I just couldn't believe it, man. I was like, Where'd that come from? ... So what are we going to do during - I mean, I love my family and all that, but, we can't be with our guys now? ... What's our next option?"
Amid the discussion, A10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade made sure to let her coaches know that, despite reports of a 31-0 vote in favor of ending July recruiting, she and a few other commissioners openly opposed the proposal.
"We (some of the commissioners), not supporting the elimination of July recruiting, have gone on record saying that and had no reason to think there was any great alarm," McGlade said.
This dilemma has given coaches a chance to readdress some of the restrictions in recruiting that seem to hinder them, as well as tossing out rhetorical questions about why they weren't notified about the impending vote by the CCA.
"Personally, I think we should be able to access and evaluate the players more," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "I think there were 350 transfers this past year. That's over one per team. That's the bigger long-term problem. There are a lot of rules restricting correspondence. I think it's a little bit short-sighted because the lines of communication, in any endeavor, are important, but especially in that one."
McGlade acknowledged room for improvement for most commissioners in regard to getting the message from the board rooms to the coaches' offices and practices.
"I think we always can improve communication," she said. "I think, probably, like a lot of commissioners, I communicate with not only the presidents, but with the athletic directors. And then that typically, within the institutions, filters down to their basketball coaches. And then, obviously, we have a staff in our office is talking all the time to the basketball administrators."
The communication problem will only be enhanced by way of the transfer rate, according to Mack.
"If you had no recruiting whatsoever, and coaches were never allowed to go out, the Carolinas, the Dukes, the bluebloods of college basketball, they could find out through contacts who the top five, 10 players are and sort of hand-pick those guys," he said. "If you can't see those kids develop throughout their high school career, you're eventually going to make the wrong decision. Transfer numbers have never been higher; it's hard to evaluate what you can't see."
In Mack and may other coaches' eyes, less opportunity for in-person evaluation during the summer would mean college players/teams would likely suffer a vicious cycle of divided attention from November until March.
"You'd have to do it (travel to scout) during your season, and that takes away from your own kids and the development of your own players," Mack said. "And that's the single-biggest selling point that we have to kids when they come to Xavier. ... We feel like we're excellent at developing them individually on the basketball floor. And now, you'd say that, but at the same time you're flying out as soon as practice ends to see a kid play a high school basketball game."
If July is cut some or chopped completely, is it a possibility parts of April would be given back? The NABC hesitantly agreed a year ago to stop going on trips as soon as the college hoops season was over. Some think this is posturing by the CCA, and it very well could be, but even if it is, they've done a heck of a job distracting coaches across the country just as the season is ready to begin.