How young is too young?
The question has been posed to recruiters throughout the years, but the NCAA has gone public with its latest definition. The NCAA Legislative Council lowered the grade-level age of "recruitable" boys' basketball prospects from ninth to seventh grades with the intent of offering middle schoolers more protection by regulating the pursuing coaches. In this story from Tuesday's Miami Herald, Joseph F. D'Antonio, associate commissioner of the Big East says, "For the good of the sport of men's basketball, this was something that needed to be implemented. The fact that we've gotten to this point is really just a sign of the times. It's scary.''
The article goes on to say:
The rule is strongly backed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which is constantly trying to ensure recruiting doesn't fall into the hands of youth coaches and that junior phenom camps don't become feeding frenzies.
''The need to nip this in the bud was overwhelming,'' said Steve Malone, the NCAA Managing Director of Academic and Membership Services.
South Florida coaches applaud the aim of the ruling but aren't sure it will help much. If anything, they said, some coaches will feel compelled to start paying attention to seventh- and eighth-graders.
If Billy Gillispie and Tim Floyd feel the need to offer middle school students scholarships, do they need babysitters more than the children? How much contact should coaches be able to have with middle school players? Do coaches who talk to them deserve a timeout?
College basketball recruiting enters halls of middle school [Miami Herald]