Breaking the rules: College hoops (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday July 25, 2007 12:29PM; Updated: Wednesday July 25, 2007 6:03PM
An ethical coach surely wouldn't open the blinds and watch entire pickup games -- but he surely would at least note which players were showing up every day and dedicating themselves to the program. And those players, in turn, even if they weren't obligated to check in with the head coach, surely would deem it rude not to at least stop by and exchange information from time to time, seeing that his office is right next to the court? It's not cheating. It's just intelligent construction.
CHEATING/AGAINST NCAA RULES: Putting recruits through shady prep schools to raise their GPAs and thus gain NCAA eligibility.
A New York Times report from February of '06 -- headlined "Schools Where the Only Real Test Is Basketball" -- exposed the proliferation of sham prep schools that essentially allowed basketball players who would not have been otherwise NCAA-eligible to transfer in, then load up on necessary core courses. Players who did not graduate from their original high schools could transfer to a place like Philadelphia's Lutheran Christian Academy, do minimal classwork and boost their GPA to the point where it canceled out low SAT or ACT scores in the NCAA's sliding-scale eligibility formula.
This loophole served as the gateway for players such as George Washington's Omar Williams and Maureece Rice, Mississippi State's Jamont Gordon, and Georgetown's (now Delaware's) Mark Egerson to become D-I scholarship athletes. In May of '07, the NCAA passed legislation that effectively put an end to this practice; now, players are only allowed to obtain a maximum of ONE core class credit in a fifth year at an approved prep school -- thus severely limiting the opportunity to boost their GPA.
NOT CHEATING: Getting recruits designated as "learning disabled," thus exempting them from the core-class limits at prep schools.
As the rules stand following the NCAA's May '07 decision, this is the prime loophole for getting a recruit eligible, even if he bumbled through his first four years of high school. A recent Sportsline.com report addressed the hypothetical -- yet very plausible -- scenario of colleges encouraging "friendly" doctors to diagnose recruits as "L.D.," or learning disabled, allowing said recruit to attend an NCAA-approved prep school and load up on as many core credits as he needs.
L.D. designations have long been methods, during college, to allow academically challenged players -- whether they're truly L.D. or not -- to take untimed exams in low-pressure settings. Now, a shrewd college team can use a doctor's services to help them get access to recruits who might not otherwise be eligible. As devious as this seems, it's already a hot topic of discussion in the college hoops world ... and there's little doubt it will become a widely used strategy.
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