Another spring and summer of high school basketball is over--or is it ever really over?--and it is time for the NCAA to revamp its outmoded and obsolete and unwieldy recruiting process before the colleges are struck with another embarrassing scandal.
It is time for the NCAA to re-evaluate the recruiting process and come up with a new design. The old model has broken down and the ones who are suffering are the kids it is supposed to help.
Many coaches are complaining about being forced to pay as much as $600 and as little as $175 or $200 for a packet of information and entrance to a tournament or camp. For the money, you might expect to get accurate jersey numbers, correctly spelled names and maybe even a home address and telephone number.
There is talk about certifying scouting services. Should someone who runs a scouting service also sponsor an AAU team? Some AAU coaches insist a college coach must subscribe to his scouting service if he wants to scout his players.
And what about school websites? Some are being accused of serving as intermediaries for the schools. One even talked a blue-chip recruit out of his commitment to another school. They give a new meaning to bad-mouthing.
The big issue is a growing number of transfers each year, now about 250 annually, kids who are persuaded to make bad and early decisions by coaches who don't have enough time to see everybody, even the players they need to see.
Instead, because they have limited time on the road and can't see everybody at every tournament, college coaches usually base their decisions on projections. How good will he be in two or three years? Can he start for me as a sophomore? They don't have enough exposure to the kid. They can't evaluate his development. Instead, they are forced by the system to make hasty and often ill-advised decisions.
Under these circumstances, the best players gravitate to the elite programs. The rich get richer. The low to mid-major programs have to wait until the bigger schools pick and choose whom they want. The power programs will get their share of the top talent.
In a desperate attempt to police summer basketball and all of the unsavory things associated with it, the NCAA closed down the spring and pushed everything into the summer. The coaches have two 10-day evaluation periods in July. They are lobbying for two seven-day periods in the spring and perhaps 40 days during the season. Anything, they insist, is better than what they have now. The current system, most agree, hurts not only the coaches but the players as well.
"The coaches feel they are backed into a corner and want to figure out a better way of doing it," said recruiting analyst Van Coleman of Hoopmasters.com. "The power programs are on top of the totem pole and don't care about this stuff. They'll get their kids. They don't worry about recruiting against the lower half of their conferences, only against one another. North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA only worry about recruiting against one another."