Breaking the rules: College hoops (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday July 25, 2007 12:29PM; Updated: Wednesday July 25, 2007 6:03PM
In June of '05 a similar scenario unfolded at Kansas. Eight months after Alaskan Mario Chalmers, the top-ranked point-guard in the '05 class, signed with the Jayhawks, it was announced his father, Ronnie, a high-school coach in Anchorage, would be joining the KU staff. In response to speculation about rather obvious signs that it was a package deal, Ronnie would tell the Kansas City Star, "Mario's decision to choose Kansas was solely based on Mario. [My wife] Almarie and I made a decision to stay in Alaska until she retired this spring, then relocate to follow Mario. This is a great opportunity to get my foot in the door at the college level, follow my son and be a part of one of the best programs in the country."
CHEATING: Providing improper benefits to high-school coaches of a recruit.
In '90, when the NCAA cleared Illinois of allegations that it offered cash and cars to recruits Deon Thomas and LaPhonso Ellis, the Illini were handed a one-year postseason ban for a number of smaller violations -- including the sale of their NCAA tournament tickets to high-school coaches of recruiting targets. Illinois' three-year probation sentence was levied in the season directly after its famed Flyin' Illini made a run to the '89 Final Four in Seattle.
NOT CHEATING: Paying high-school coaches of recruits to speak at a university's summer camps.
This is regular practice all across the country; prominent college head coaches earn hundreds of thousands of dollars to run summer camps, which require staffers and speakers ... who frequently happen to be either high school or AAU coaches of recruits or recent signees.
An '06 report in the Dallas Morning News examined the summer-hiring practices of a number of Big 12 teams, and found that during the summer of '05, Texas had paid $3,200 to an assistant coach at Damion James' high school for working seven camp sessions, and Texas A&M had paid a total of $3,015 to three coaches from Donald Sloan and Derrick Roland's high school for camp jobs. Kansas, meanwhile, was the school that exploited this loophole to the max. There were seven coaches on KU's summer-camp payroll who received $2,000 each: One happened to be C.J. Giles and Rodrick Stewart's high school coach, another was Sherron Collins' high school coach, another Collins and Julian Wright's AAU coach, another happened to be Sasha Kaun's high school coach, another was Darrell Arthur's high school coach, while two more were Arthur's AAU coaches.
CHEATING: Head coaches running mandatory summer workouts -- or even being present at voluntary summer workouts.
The end of Nolan Richardson III's tenure at Tennessee State was marked by criminal idiocy, as he brandished a gun at assistant coach Hosea Lewis during a Christmas-night practice in '02. Ten months after Richardson's resignation, the NCAA handed him a three-year show cause (a designation that essentially bars other schools from hiring someone) for, among other things, putting recruits through "tryouts" during campus visits as well as supervising involuntary summer workouts. While the auditioning of recruits demonstrated a brazen disregard for NCAA rules, getting caught keeping tabs on players in the summer ... was simply a case of being too stupid to do it discreetly.
NOT CHEATING: Having an office in the school's basketball complex that happens to overlook -- or at least be adjacent to -- the practice court where offseason workouts are held.
In order for unsupervised offseason workouts to qualify with the NCAA as voluntary, players must not be told by the coach to attend, nor can they be required to report back to the coach afterward, nor can they be punished for not attending. But what happens, say, if in the school's posh new basketball practice facility, the head coach's palatial office happens to have a nice view of ... the court where players conduct their voluntary workouts?