In the newest example of the ever-extending reach of college recruiting, the NCAA announced today that seventh-graders will be considered prospects in Men’s Basketball.
The organization voted Thursday to change the definition of a prospect from ninth grade to seventh grade – for men’s basketball only – to nip a trend in which some college coaches were working at private, elite camps and clinics for seventh- and eighth-graders. The NCAA couldn’t regulate those camps because those youngsters fell below the current cutoff.
“It’s a little scary only because — we talked about this — where does it stop?” said Joe D’Antonio, chairman of the 31-member Division I Legislative Council, which approved the change during a two-day meeting at the NCAA Convention. “The fact that we’ve got to this point is really just a sign of the times.”
Schools had expressed concern that the younger-age elite camps were giving participating coaches a recruiting advantage, pressuring other coaches to start their own camps.
“The need to nip that in the bud was overwhelming,” said Steve Mallonee, the NCAA’s managing director of academic and membership affairs.
It may prove to be better for the NCAA’s oversight of the recruiting process, but one has to wonder how far the NCAA will take this. Will coaches talking to fourth graders soon be deemed as a recruiting advantage?