For the second time since last spring’s Mario Miracle, the NABC has put out a statement that squarely fixes its crosshairs on Kentucky’s second-year coach, Billy Gillispie. Certainly you remember the June directive the NABC made to stop recruiting junior high players in the wake of the media firestorm over Gillispie’s recruiting of 8th grader Michael Avery. We wrote at the time:
Luckily, this may be a situation where coaches were doing it because they felt they needed to avoid a competitive disadvantage. Now that the NABC has effectively disavowed this as a strategy (although it is still legal), coaches [including Gillispie] appear to be supportive of the line-drawing.
(Ed Note: apparently another Billy, as in Billy Donovan, didn’t get that memo from the NABC.)Andy Katz now reports on his blog today that the NABC put forth a new statement yesterday that admonishes coaches for using their early autumn ‘skill development’ time (2 hours/week) prior to full practices for recruiting purposes. More specifically, they don’t want schools to bump up their Midnight Madness festivities to a preceding weekend so as to take advantage of a more favorable recruiting scenario (i.e., big football game on campus, local stripper convention, the fact that nobody else is having Midnight Madness that weekend). Why is this important now? Because Kentucky and Illinois (with its gimmicky outdoor practice) are planning on having their Midnight Madnesses a week prior to the ‘official’ start of practice. The NABC statement (via Katz):
The NABC board of directors said that “skill development events should not be open to the public.” The NABC said the initial intent was for coaches to assist their players in skill development and create stronger relationships. But by “making such skill development sessions public events, they appear to be geared more for recruiting than skill development sessions.”
Coach Gillispie, godlovehim, just cannot resist pushing the envelope when it comes to the NCAA rulebook. We’re not saying that he’s breaking any rules – hell, we’re not even saying that he’s bending them – but like any fastidious attorney, he manages to consistently find the gray nether-regions where legislative intent meets bright-line rule, and he forces those in charge to make decisions.
Bring It On, NABC! (photo credit: AP/Ed Reinke)
Our take on these early Midnight Madness celebrations is such: we tend to like orderliness when it comes to college hoops, as in… we’d like to know with assurance when Opening Night will be or when the Final Four will be. So we’re 100% in agreement with the NABC on this one – can’t we just all agree to have Midnight Madness on the same night, and preferably, AT MIDNIGHT? If the NCAA has to mandate this, so be it – add another page to the 17-lb rulebook.
Update (10/1): Jeff Goodman weighs in with this background information about the NABC:
Word is that there were numerous coaches on a conference call who were less than thrilled with Gillispie’s decision. They feel that the NCAA allows the coaches the two hours per week for skill development and Gillispie is taking advantage of the rule. It was the unanimous decision of the Board that skill development events should not be open to the public.