Big East proposes 2-or-none rule, funneling apparel money through schools as NCAA fixes

The Big East made a list of proposals to the NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball on Wednesday as suggestions to solve the recruiting and player issues that have plagued college basketball.

The league published its proposal as a response to the NCAA seeking feedback from its member institutions in the midst of a season rocked by scandal triggered by an FBI investigation into pay-for-play throughout college basketball.

Per Big East commissioner Val Ackerman:

“The journey of men’s basketball players as they move from youth basketball, to high school and/or travel teams, to college basketball, and then to the pros is ripe for overhaul. Our recommendations are designed to help improve the pathway for these young men as they pursue their dreams and to solidify the future of a great sport that, as March Madness always shows, is embraced passionately by universities and fans around the country.”

The proposal highlights seven recommendations, with two of them standing out.

From the proposal:

• “The NCAA should urge the NBA and National Basketball Players Association to create a ‘none or two’ draft eligibility rule to afford elite players greater flexibility to explore their professional options directly out of high school. Players electing to enroll in an NCAA institution would become eligible for the NBA draft following their second NCAA season.”

So the Big East is suggesting pressuring the NBA to get rid of its widely-criticized rule against players either younger than 19 or less than a year out of high school, commonly known as the “one-and-done” rule, and forcing players who choose to play in college to stay for two years.

The second Big East recommendation that stands out reads as follows:

• “Modified apparel company relationships with universities. Apparel company contracts should require that income for coaches and administrators be paid through the university rather by apparel companies directly. The NCAA should also mandate specific disclosures from apparel companies before they can enter into contracts with NCAA institutions.”

The Big East has proposed pressuring the NBA on the one-and-done rule and creating middlemen between shoe companies and coaches to cure basketballs ills. (AP)
The Big East has proposed pressuring the NBA on the one-and-done rule and creating middlemen between shoe companies and coaches to cure basketballs ills. (AP)

This is apparently in direct response to the initial FBI probe that kicked off the scandal-ridden season last September that alleged that an Adidas representative arranged a $100,000 payment for a player with a guarantee that the player would attend a specific Adidas-sponsored school before signing with Adidas upon turning pro.

“The bribe money was structured in a manner so to conceal it from the NCAA and officials at University-6 by among other things having Company-1 wire money to a third party consultants who them facilitated cash payments to Player-10s family,” the FBI report reads. 

So it appears that the Big East’s solution to that specific problem is to ensure that all money that comes from sponsors goes directly to schools instead of coaches, where it will then be distributed among administrators and coaches. In short, it wants to create a middle man when Adidas agrees to pay a coach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How that suggestion would prevent shoe companies from paying players is not clear.

What is crystal clear in the proposal is that there is zero mention of players who produce the revenue getting paid legally. Only more red-tape around how the institution, administrators and coaches get their cut of the hundreds of millions of dollars produced annually.

So, really, the Big East’s proposal is more of the same.

If you’re interested in the rest of the proposed red tape, you can read here.

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