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The Final Four
Phil Taylor
April 08, 1991
Summertime Blues
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April 08, 1991

The Final Four

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Summertime Blues

Just about everyone who is anyone in college basketball—coaches, athletic directors, NCAA officials, television representatives—was gathered in Indianapolis, and one of the hottest topics of discussion was summer camps. The camps, privately run affairs with names like Five-Star Camp and B/C All-Star Camp, are where college coaches evaluate high school talent and make some of their recruiting decisions. But some coaches don't like the system.

One complaint is about the fees they have to pay to attend the camps. In fact, according to USC coach George Raveling, at least one camp charged coaches $200 just to receive the roster of participating players. But a bigger gripe is that some of the coaches in summer programs are not college or high school coaches, but are so-called middlemen who steer players to certain colleges in return for payment from the schools.

"I went into two homes [on recruiting visits] last summer, and the high school coach wasn't there, but the guy who coached in the summer was," said Raveling. "One of those guys asked, 'Which one of my kids are you interested in?' I said, 'Your kids? Don't these kids have a mother and a father?' I think we need to get the unsavory element out of this."

A number of other college coaches agree with Raveling, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) is pushing to have the NCAA sponsor regional camps throughout the country with high school coaches as instructors. College coaches would be allowed to evaluate the talent at those camps only and not be permitted to attend private camps.

The NABC hopes to put the proposal on the agenda of the NCAA convention in January and have the regional camps in operation by the summer of 1992. The idea will certainly be opposed by the current camp organizers, and not all college coaches are in the NABC's corner. Some are convinced that extending the NCAA's reach into the summer camps is not a wise move. "No system is going to be perfect," said Raveling. "But the summer situation needs looking at. It needs changing."

A Color Barrier?

A delicate and increasingly tense situation is developing between black coaches and black referees. There are coaches who believe some officials are so intent on not showing favoritism toward black coaches that they lean too far the other way. According to Drake coach Rudy Washington, who is black, some black coaches have asked their conferences not to assign black referees to their games.

Members of the Black Coaches Association (BCA) met in Indianapolis with black officials, including two of the most respected of them, Pac-10 supervisor of officials Booker Turner and Big Ten referee Ed Hightower, to talk things over.

"We respect that they [black referees] have a tough situation," said Washington. "Say you have a game with a black coach and a white coach. The black ref has a call that could go either way, and the black coach gets the call. The white coach says, 'So that's the way it's gonna be, huh?' Some black refs are going to give the next few judgment calls to the white coach, just to prove they're not biased. They might not even be conscious that they're doing it, but it happens."

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