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April 1, 2004
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
MYLES BRAND: Thank you, Jeff. It's a pleasure to be here. Let me make some brief comments, then just turn it open to you. It's been an incredible tournament so far. Some of the games have really been barn-burners. It's been a high drama, great defense, great guard play, very exciting. In the minds of many, this is the premiere sporting event in America today. The Final Four represents the best that there is in college sports. But there are critics, too, of college sports. Sometimes they paint everything with the same brush, including the tournament. Critics see overcommercialism, they see lack of academic achievement. Let me assure you that the NCAA, the national staff in Indianapolis, as well as all the members, are working hard to deal with questions, for example, such as academic performance. We've changed in a serious way the initial and continuing eligibility standards starting this past fall; and in just a few weeks' time, we will bring to our board of directors for a final vote an effort that's been underway now for a couple years to provide disincentives for poor graduation and academic achievement. That holds the institutions and the teams accountable in a way that was never true in the past. So if you think of eligibility, initial and continuing eligibility, as accountability standards for individual student athletes, we will also be putting in place strong disincentives for lack of academic performance, and that's accountability for the teams and the schools. College sports has a lot more right with it than wrong. It's easy to comment on the critical aspects, but let's not lose sight of what's happening in terms of 360,000 student athletes and 88 championships across the nation. In men's basketball in New Orleans and in women's basketball, we see the best of basketball. Most importantly, we're working hard, diligently to rectify the problems, enhance the integrity of the game, assure that student athletes get a genuine education, and campuses and universities across the nation are benefited by having intercollegiate athletic programs. With that brief statement, I'm happy to try and answer your questions.
Q. I know there was some movement at the NCAA convention to move in the direction of eliminating the five-and-eight rule in college basketball. I wanted to know what your position was, what the progress of the elimination of that rule would be at this point.
MYLES BRAND: That rule continues to be under discussion. I expect during the management council coming up in two weeks and shortly thereafter, the board of directors of that conversation will continue. I believe there are some amongst the university presidents who support it strongly. There are others amongst the university presidents who do not support it at all. I believe that more likely than not, some changes will take place. But until those two groups, management council and the board of directors, consisting of presidents, has a chance to discuss and examine it, I can't tell you where it will be in the future.
Q. Has there been much talk about changing the way graduation rates are calculated, particularly since there are going to be these new rules about disincentives?
MYLES BRAND: Yes, absolutely. We learned this from the coaches themselves, that the current federally mandated way of counting graduation rates is inadequate for at least two reasons. First of all, on the federal model, you do not count transfers in and transfers out. For many college students today, not just basketball players, transferring schools is commonplace. And so we're not getting an accurate reading, whether it's in basketball or graduation rates as a whole, particularly those schools such as urban commuter schools in which the population is such that they transfer a great deal. For example, coming from community colleges or transferring into a residential college later on. So we're not getting an accurate reading. We will change that. Our new rates will take into account transfers in and transfers out, and we will no longer hold schools and teams responsible in those rates. So that's an important point. The second point is that the six-year graduation rate, even done more properly as we intend to do it, as well as the federal rate, gives you a long-term sense because we're looking at six-year rates, but it doesn't tell you whether individual students in a snapshot way are making progress. So in addition, we're going to have a semester-by-semester academic progress rate to assure that the coaches and everyone else knows how well student athletes are doing on a real-time basis in addition to six years out. Both of those will be part of the incentives, disincentives program.
Q. Along those lines, how much does it hurt the NCAA and college sports when those current graduation rates are used, it was done during the bowl season, Sweet-16, based on a class of six years ago to, you know, say that current teams are either not doing their job or doing their job?
MYLES BRAND: I think there are a number of problems the way graduation rates are being reported. If you only look at the six-year rate, it does give you a misimpression because the coach may be new, obviously all or almost all the players are new. The athletic director could even be new. So you could have a whole new system. Without that snapshot, real-time view, you don't get an accurate picture of academic progress under that coach. I believe that's right. There's been another recent issue, and you didn't ask about that, but you'll allow me to answer it nonetheless. That is the suppression of the data by the Department of Education. I mean, even though we're looking at six-year rates, under the federally mandated way they're not accurate, they did give us some information. Now that information, a good part of it, not all of it, is suppressed. I think in particular when you have schools and teams that need improvement, it's important to have those graduation rates made public so we can identify where the problem area is and begin to rectify the situation. But the Department of Education this year decided to suppress the information when it refers to I think it's a class of less than three, a three or less, and that's different from what they did in the past. The NCAA will itself collect the same information that was given to the Federal Government, and this August we will release the rates. They weren't released now because of the suppression. But we do have legal ability to release those rates, and we will in the future continue to release those rates in a timely way so we don't get into the suppression program that the Department of Education produced.
Q. In other words, will y'all continue to release the graduation rates as the way the government is, and also do the snapshot? Are there going to be two ways of looking at graduation rates? I'm not sure I understood exactly what you were saying.
MYLES BRAND: Until we put in place the better way of counting, which takes care of transfers, all we have is the federal rate. But federal rates are now, to a certain extent, suppressed. Until we get our new way of counting, we will use the federal rate and we will also reveal the suppressed information because we have the legal ability to do that.
Q. As you know, a couple years ago the Knight commission recommended that schools that failed to graduate 50% of their student athletes not be allowed to participate in post-season play. My question is, as the NCAA moves forward to put specificity on what the lowest level is, acceptable level under the incentives, disincentives program, would you support a minimum graduate rate of 50%, and if not, what message is the NCAA sending if its minimally acceptable graduation rate is something less than 50%?
MYLES BRAND: I think it's easy to understand that you have a single rate, 50%, for everyone. But that advantage of easily being understood fails to understand the complexity, the nuanced issues in the problem. Let me say that that 50% graduation rate is both too hard and too easy to meet. It's too hard to meet because if you look at the top 16 urban commuter campuses, the average graduation rate of male students at those campuses, and males tend to graduate at a few points below females, the average graduation rate for males on those 16 campuses is 30%. So if you say that the graduation rate of student athletes at those 16 campuses has to be 50%, you're asking for almost double what the rate is at those urban universities. That strikes me as unrealistic. We're going to have to have a floor, and I don't know what the floor would be, but you have to take into account the type of institution that the student athletes are attending, and even though they're getting financial aid and some academic support, the fact of the matter is that the environment in those institutions, what happens in the classroom, the kind of academic support available, the expectations of the student body, all influence the graduation rate. So you really are setting up those urban universities and the student athletes who play for them for failure because it's too hard to meet. It's also too easy when you take some of our very elite schools, such as Stanford where the graduation rates approach 90%, to say it should only be 50%, it's too easy to meet. In other words, the graduation rates have to be indexed in some way to be decided to the graduation rate and the type of institution it is, what the mission of the institution is, and what the nature of that student body is. But you also have to have a floor, and that floor is yet to be decided.
Q. If I can do a quick follow-up. When you reference the urban commuter schools, the 30% rate, it's my understanding urban commuter schools have a lower rate because so many of the students attend part-time. Obviously, your pool of athletes attend full-time. Isn't that misleading to point to how part-time students graduate as some sort of reference for how full-time scholarship athletes ought to be graduating?
MYLES BRAND: In those 16 schools I'm talking about, the majority of the students attend full-time. They also have residence halls. Urban commuter usually means 10% of the students or less are living in residence halls. More and more of those schools are now having full-time students, particularly those in large cities. There is that factor, so you would expect the student athletes to graduate somewhat better rate than the general student body, the males. But almost 50% higher from 30% average graduation rate all the way up to 50, almost double, that may be unrealistic. The point is, and your question illustrates it, this is a nuanced, complex issue. Just throwing out a single number, though easily understood, really doesn't address the complexity of the issue. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have a floor, and we should push hard to get as high as we can. But let's not set people up for failure because of the type of school they go to or the student body at those schools. Some schools have far more money per student to spend in terms of academic support than others. So we really have to take all those factors into account in deciding what the right number, minimum number, is. Let's not throw out a single number taken from the air without appropriate research.
Q. With billion-dollar television contracts, do you feel like this event has gotten too commercial over the years?
MYLES BRAND: You know, I don't. I think the NCAA tournament, the one here in your city today, is actually a superb example of how college athletics can work hand-in-hand with good commercial support. There's no reason to believe that these games can be enjoyed by fans across the country and televised unless we had media support. But media support doesn't mean overcommercialization. There's a problem when the games lose their integrity through overcommercialization. My view is that the Final Four is a superb example, an exemplar, if you like, of how to do it right in terms of having the kind of commercial support that's necessary for fan enjoyment without harming the integrity of the game. So this is a good example. There are other cases that are not good examples.
Q. Considering that money that is generated, would you be in favor of perhaps some of that TV money paying for a stipend for athletes in some form or fashion?
MYLES BRAND: No.
Q. Why not?
MYLES BRAND: 95% of the money that comes in from the CBS and ESPN contracts goes back to the institutions to support the student athletes on those campuses. The national office in Indianapolis takes approximately 5% to run the administration or the infrastructure. Once you use some of those funds for stipends, paying student athletes, you've given up the college approach. You've changed college sports into professional sports. I would suggest to you third-rate professional sports, because you can never pay them enough, the multi-million dollar contracts. What you've essentially done is removed the student from the student athlete. You've changed them into professional athletes solely. Now, I do understand that there are some people who think we ought to pay student athletes, and there's some student athletes who would love the money. But we can't provide pay-for-play without destroying college sports. I will add, though, that we want to make sure that our student athletes who attend colleges and universities, have adequate support, scholarship support, in order to tend to both basketball and their academics. So I am in favor over time in moving towards full cost of attendance, which is modestly higher, two or three thousand dollars higher, than the grants and aid now being paid. But that's just to make more fair the scholarship levels; it is not - it is not - to move towards a pay-for-play approach.
Q. Back on academics for a second. The whole problem is that coaches recruit athletes who can't or don't want to do the academic work at the institutions they happen to be at. How are the incentives and disincentives packages going to address that problem?
MYLES BRAND: I think that blanket indictment of coaches is unfair.
Q. I didn't say all of them. I said that's where the problems arise.
MYLES BRAND: Many coaches don't do that. Many coaches try to recruit student athletes who can succeed, and particularly those who live in environments in which academics is not only called for on campus, but the level is very high, and they have to pass the admission standards of that institution. I think the initial and continuing eligibility changes that have already been put in place this past fall are going to make it such that it's far less likely that student athletes will appear on a campus unable to do the work. The increase in core courses, for example, most especially the continuing eligibility standards of having to do 20% progress towards a degree, not just take courses, but progress towards a degree per year, will make it much more difficult to keep those student athletes eligible if they aren't well-prepared and motivated to do the work. Coaches obviously want the student athletes they recruit to be able to play for an extended period of time, and so they I think will be led to recruit student athletes who are capable and motivated. We're moving in the right direction. There will always be some problem student athletes. But, frankly, many institutions have problems graduating some of their students right now. I would hope that the graduation rates of our student athletes are equal to or better than the graduation rates on that campus, given the academic mission of that campus, and that these initial and special continuing eligibility rates will help us move in that direction.
Q. Maybe I missed this, but I was curious, with some of these graduation rates, how you're going to change those, what kind of time frame are you looking at?
MYLES BRAND: The initial and continuing eligibility, which will affect incoming student athletes as well as those already in the system, they're in place. They were passed this past fall. The disincentives program will begin in part this coming year, the year after this, 2005, if it passes in April in front of the board, and contemporaneous penalties, meaning if a student athlete leaves for academic reasons, flunks out, then that team cannot replace the player, loses the scholarship for a year. So that will be in place in 2005. We will need a longer period of time in order to get the data for the full line of incentives, including in the worst cases, after scholarships are removed, there's no improvement, in the worst cases, look at not being able to participate in the tournament. But that won't phase in immediately. We're going to need some data and we have to warn the high school students we're doing this. But you will see, if it passes in April, the disincentives program through contemporaneous penalties affecting numbers of scholarships be in place in 2005.
Q. It's been about a year now since we first heard about the changing in conference realignment. Now we still have two or three conferences out there in limbo. Is there anything you believe that your office could have done to have facilitated that, that we wouldn't have a year of lame duck conference membership coming up?
MYLES BRAND: You know, I thought a lot about that over the past year. I think the honest answer to your question is no, because the decisions of alignment, which conference to belong to, are individual institution decisions. They have to decide -- the trustees, along with the president, as well as the athletic director, have to decide which conferences they want to align with, and that is not a national NCAA decision, no more than it's a national decision about which coaches should be hired or fired. Those are local decisions. This is a local decision of who to affiliate with. Whenever you realign conferences, which schools belong to which conferences, there's going to be a time lag, a year or two presumably, in terms of getting the schedules right. I think that's what we're going through now. So I don't believe it was proper for the NCAA to try to intervene in the process. There's no history of the NCAA intervening in any institutional realignment issues. Despite my asking if they wanted some help along those lines, there was no desire to have us intervene. I think it will take another year or two, for example, in the Big East for it to work itself out .
Q. This morning there's a column suggesting the NCAA needed to vacate Duke's title from 2001 because they used a player who was later found to have taken money from a former coach. Can you address that.
MYLES BRAND: I would actually like to call on vice president David Price, vice president of enforcement for the NCAA, to directly address that.
DAVID PRICE: Thank you. The NCAA and Duke conducted a fairly lengthy joint investigation involving Corey Maggette's participation and receiving payments. He received payments while he was high school age from his summer league coach, Myron Piggie in the 1997 and '99 time period. As a freshman at Duke in 2001, he played in the NCAA championships, and Duke was national runner-up. Our executive regulations specify that if an individual plays while ineligible in the NCAA championships, we can either vacate the team's participation in the championship and/or assess a fine for the money that they received. The standard for that is whether either the institution knew or should have known that Maggette was ineligible or if Maggette himself knew that -- or should have known that he was ineligible. After a lengthy investigation, we came to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to determine that Maggette knew or should have known, and we believe firmly that the institution did not know and should not have known. Consequently, we have notified the institution that there will be no action by the NCAA. Thank you.
Q. Mr. Price, is that 1999 you're talking about? Maggette did not play on the 2001 team. '99 was his one and only year.
DAVID PRICE: 1999 was when he last received his payments from Piggie. Is that your question?
Q. No. '99 was the year he played, I'm pretty sure. The.
DAVID PRICE: He played in 2001.
Q. No, he didn't. It was '99. Check the facts.
JEFF HOWARD: We'll take that, but I think you get the point of what David is trying to say here, as well. Thank you, David. Before we leave here today, we'll make the announcement in terms of what year that actually took place. Let's take two more questions for President Brand.
Q. Next few weeks I believe the recruiting task force is going to make some recommendations. Are there three, four things that you think absolutely have to be recommended? How soon could they be in place? Could they be in place for this coming fall?
MYLES BRAND: The recruiting task force that we established to deal with just this part of recruiting, namely the campus recruiting visits, met for the first time this past week, and they're still engaged in conversation. They're looking both at principled issues as well as detailed, such as how can we assure that a prospective student athlete has an opportunity to look at the academic merits of the institution, get a sense of that. How can they also look at the athletic facilities and the teammates, the coaches, how can they investigate that. How can the school put its best foot forward, all within certain behavioral constraints. They have not yet come out with a decision. We will, however, assure that we have in place any changes we're going to make in time for the next football recruiting season. So we are fast tracking this. Our expectation is that we will resolve the issue early this summer, if not sooner, and all new recruiting visits will abide by these new rules. They have not yet designated which specific changes will be made. They're still in those discussions.
Q. My question is about the emphasis on graduation rates, and that sort of thing, whether or not you're ever concerned that that emphasis might lead to either students themselves pursuing less than the optimal education that's available to them in order to protect eligibility, or the school perhaps emphasizing eligibility overeducation, for instance, a student who is interested and capable of majoring in engineering, choosing to major in communications because it might be easier?
MYLES BRAND: Yes, I am concerned about those kinds of issues. I want to make sure that student athletes have the full opportunity to choose their major and get the best education that's offered by the institution. Now, some students, athletes and others, choose communication because they want to. There's nothing wrong with communication - I hope you agree with me on that.
Q. I used that for a good reason (laughter).
MYLES BRAND: But also if they want to become a microbiologist, as the recent quarterback at Ohio State I believe was, there's every opportunity to do that, as well. So it isn't just meeting eligibility standards. If you recall, when I talked before about the continuing eligibility rules, I talked about making genuine progress towards a degree. Now, which degree student athletes choose is up to them. It turns out on average that student athletes tend to choose business more than any other field. But then again, many of our students choose business. There's nothing wrong with that. Some of them choose harder majors, some of them choose less hard majors. But they need to take the general education courses in English and math, foreign languages if it's required in the institution, and get a good education. But they should have the freedom of choice to choose majors. The faculty have the obligation to assure that those majors really represent a solid education. And if they don't, if there are majors that don't represent a solid education, then it's not the athletics department's fault, it's the faculty's fault, and they really need to rise to the occasion. Fortunately, I believe that faculty, at least all those I've known from my 40-odd years in higher education, take all this very seriously.
Q. The question is whether the incentive program and the emphasis on continuing eligibility would lead athletes to do less than they're capable of.
MYLES BRAND: I don't know any reason to believe that. Student athletes in the past, in the future, will make decisions for all kinds of reasons, how they want to spend their time, what majors they want to take. I don't see anything in raising the standards that would lead them away from taking the course loads that they want. If that were true, I would say, "Let's just lower the standards, they can take whatever they want." That's fallacious, that's not a good argument. The fact of the matter is I don't believe any reason why raising the standards will make it worse, I think it will make it better.
JEFF HOWARD: Thank you. I'd also point out I'd like to see some engineers sitting under these hot lights (laughter). I'd like to bring to the dais the members of the NABC board for the second part of our press conference today.
MYLES BRAND: Let me introduce the gentlemen to my right. On my right is Jim Haney, who is the executive director, president of the NABC. To his right is Pat Kennedy, the incoming NABC president. Mike Montgomery to his right, who is the chair of the ethics committee. And finally to the right is Kelvin Sampson, the current president from the NABC. Before I turn it over to Jim Haney for some comments, I want to myself comment on what have been the effects of the October summit of basketball coaches. You will recall that the NABC called a summit for all basketball coaches in mid October. I believe that that has moved forward the agenda for the NABC, as well as the NCAA, on protecting the integrity and enhancing the integrity of sports. It made clear to everyone and reinforced the idea that the coaches really are guardians of the game and are interested in professional and sound professional operations. I also want to point out that not just at that time but somewhat before and increasing ever since, has been a strong, positive partnership that's been growing through the basketball coaches through their national association and the NCAA as we begin to look at a wide range of issues, including recruiting and access of potential student athletes and current student athletes, working on issues of academic reform as well as integrity. Jim.
JIM HANEY: Thank you. We're honored to be here and share this dais. At this point I'll turn it to Kelvin for some comments. We have a few things to share with you, then respond to questions.
KELVIN SAMPSON: Like Dr. Brand, I think specific to men's basketball, there's a lot more right that's going on in men's basketball than wrong. I think since the October 15th summit that we had, the outgrowth of that, maybe the most important thing for us as coaches, is the partnership that was formed between the NCAA and the NABC - NABC staff, NCAA staff, and especially Dr. Brand. Most of us up here, Pat, Mike and I, served on the board between eight and ten years. I think the most important thing that we can have as coaches in promoting our profession forward is hope. "Hope" is an important word. Since Dr. Brand has been working with us hand-in-hand, the ability to go in and maybe modify rules, rules that may impart, cause some part of ethical dilemma, rules that we see as potential problems. The ability to change some of those rules, sit down with the NCAA, listen to the coaches, really listen to what we have to say, take some of these things forward, those are the things that we're really, really excited about now. October 15th was good for a lot of reasons, but maybe the most important thing was the joint membership between the NABC and the NCAA. I'll pass it on now to Mike Montgomery with some ethics committee comments.
MIKE MONTGOMERY: Well, I have to be honest with you. I hoped to be sitting up here in a different environment potentially this weekend, but since I'm not going to be, just echoing what Kelvin had said, I think we're all really excited about the partnership that is developing between the NCAA, the openness and honesty that we've been able to establish dialogue with Myles Brand, it's been great, and we're really excited about it. But as ethics committee chairman, I think a couple years ago we were charged in the NABC to be proactive as to some of the things that were going on in our profession. One of the things that came out of that was a strong suggestion that we develop an ethics committee, which is of course what football has had in place for a long time, but, you know, most professional organizations have. Over the last year and a half or so through the work of the NABC, we've started to develop a strategy to try to strengthen the ethics committee and keep the fact that our behavior, the things that we do as a profession, is first and foremost and should be. So we had a meeting with the NCAA infractions committee on their process, how they deal with the infractions. We had conference calls with the American football coaches, how they do their business. We had several conference calls. As a result of that, we've set a committee up of 12 members now. Originally I thought we were more of an educational body. Now we've turned a little bit more toward the enforcement side of the behavior of the coaches. It would be our goal as an organization to never have the NCAA have to deal with a coach, for you to never have to write about us doing something that is outside the rules. And that's where we're trying to head, and that's what we'd like to do. So whereas we're not a fact-finding group, we have established a 12-member group of Division I, II and III coaches. We'll really have our first face-to-face meeting on Saturday. We're not an investigative group, we'll leave that to the NCAA. But we will respond to the investigations that the NCAA does. We'll visit with coaches that are found to be outside the rules or found to violate rules, whether they be NAI, NCAA or the national junior college coaches. We'll develop some possible penalties in terms of letters to an AD or letters to a coach or perhaps the president of the school, perhaps not recommend coaches for national awards or not coaching United States basketball teams, things of that nature. But, you know, it's something I think that's necessary. We want our coaches to realize that we're serious about our behavior, that we're serious about our profession, that it is important to us. The more things you read about us that are wrong, as Kelvin said, we're doing far, far more good things than bad. What tends to get people's attention is when we step outside the bounds. We need to manage that from within our own profession. It is important to a lot of people, I think it's important to the kids that we're coaching. You know, we're going to continue to work to develop this ethics committee and make it a meaningful group that can have some teeth, that coaches would prefer not to have to sit down and visit with. So we're excited about that. As I say, I think the major thing is our partnership with the NCAA and the cooperation and the truth that we're starting to develop between the two organizations, which is really exciting.
KELVIN SAMPSON: I'd like to go to Jim Haney to address some things that have happened in men's basketball since October 15th.
JIM HANEY: Thanks, Kelvin. There were three or four items that we identified coming out of the October 15th summit that we wanted to research and study and have prepared to respond to our board and our Division I head coaches here in San Antonio. One was looking at secondary violations. We've looked at five years' worth of secondary violations, trying to determine where those secondary violations came, what they dealt with. I think we've really sort of focused now on those secondary violations, would generally tend to be self-reports by the institution on contact with underclassmen in high school prior to the dates where you're allowed to make phone calls or have face-to-face contact with prospects. That's sort of an ongoing process as we sort of learn to work with that, recognizing that early contact can definitely impact a future decision of a prospect. Second item we've been looking at is what we call lack of coach control. The NCAA has in its policies a lack of institutional control when it does an investigation, it can look and identify individuals within the athletic department or possibly outside that they feel should have known or should have taken some proactive action. But there really has never been a coach cited for such conduct. We now are seriously looking, actually we shared with the board today, I think the board has agreed in concept, I know they have, to this lack of coach control which actually will be a piece of legislation. The exact form of that legislation still needs to be worked out jointly with the NABC board and the NCAA. But we are looking to move forward. Finally, the NABC started a professional development series. We are asking our assistant coaches in particular in Division I, but it's open to all our coaches, to attend a minimum of five of approximately 12 to 14 clinics. Those clinics will include some personal development, some professional development, and then particularly for those involved in recruiting, recruiting seminars, as well. Anyone who attends a minimum of five of those clinics will, in fact, get a certification from the NABC of having passed the provisional development series. We'll send on a certificate, letter, to the athletic director, head coach and to the university president as such. We think we're moving forward. It was a tall task. There was a lot of work to be done. Quite frankly we wouldn't have been able to accomplish it, going back to the cooperation and the partnership, without the cooperation of the NCAA staff who worked diligently with us to get us to where we had something concrete to present. We feel good about it. We're excited about the future. We still have lots of work to be done. But I think we're up to the task.
KELVIN SAMPSON: We'll move to Pat, then after Pat's comments we'll ask for questions.
PAT KENNEDY: Well, I just think that this is a crucial year coming up for us. A door is open. I've been a member of the NABC for 25 years as well as served on the board. The progress that we've made as an organization is remarkable over that period of time, from general membership meetings to a congress that reports to all of the coaches within that conference, to the development of the NABC, and more importantly the door that has been opened by Dr. Brand has been very, very special and very important to us. So I think in this year coming up, addressing all the issues that the gentlemen here have talked about, makes this year I think a very, very important year. There are a lot of things that have to be continually addressed, but that's true in every walk of life. The negatives have to be addressed, but the positives have to continue to develop in a positive direction, and there are more positives. I think that's one thing that this body has worked on for many years, but not always feeling that there was the full support, and more importantly the understanding of the issues. I think what Dr. Brand has brought to our table is an understanding of the issues that really opens the door that we maybe have not seen in years past. That's going to be important. Our mandate, our job is to move forward and bring great ideas, valid and important ideas to the table, so we can improve our game, quality of admissions for student athletes, integrity of the game, quality that we present to the public. I'm looking forward to this upcoming year and I think good things are going to continue to happen.
JEFF HOWARD: With that, we'll open it up to questions.
Q. I guess I'm going to pick on Mike Montgomery. With different disincentives looming for graduation rates, forgive me for not knowing if Josh has actually graduated or not, but in general, should coaches shy away from the prospect that you look at and say, "He's not going to be here for four years, he's going to be an NBA lottery pick in four years"?
MIKE MONTGOMERY: Well, I don't think coaches will shy away. I think if you ask most coaches, we're going to look for the best student athletes. I think at Stanford we have a little different situation. For me, I can't in all good conscience recruit a player that does not come to Stanford with the express desire to graduate. I mean, that's just not what our mission is, as Dr. Brand referred to, different institutions have different missions. I believe Josh will graduate whether he stays to finish his final year of eligibility or not . Over the 18 years I've been there, everybody has graduated, except for the three kids that have left early for the NBA. But they will. I had a kid that I inherited when I first got there that played for me for two years, left after his four years of eligibility, played in the NBA for three years, kicked around in Europe, played. I kept after him, and he finally graduated after nine years away from school. Do I consider that graduating, part of my hundred percent? I absolutely do. I don't care when they do it, as long as they do. So I don't think coaches will shy away. The opportunity now, the culture, almost demands these kids that they put their name in the draft. As you're seeing, the high school kids, they're talking about eight to ten high school kids going into the draft. I do think it would behoove any coach to have an intelligent conversation with the family and the kid about what his goals would be and bring it up, then make a decision based on as sound of facts as you can get. But with the amount of money involved, it's awfully difficult for a kid to turn down that kind of opportunity. So I think coaches will continue to recruit the very best student athletes out there. Again, our situation is unique. We don't really have much of a choice there. I can honestly say that a hundred percent of the time the kids we have recruited have come to Stanford with the express desire to graduate.
Q. Mr. Montgomery, it's an ethics question is why I'm asking you rather than a rules violation. But given the final exam that was given at Georgia by Mr. Harrick, I'm wondering if you feel it's a conflict of interest for members of a coaching staff to teach courses for academic credit with their own players enrolled now that the NCAA is moving in a direction where the number of scholarships will depend quite likely on players' academic performances? I'm wondering if you see any conflict there, and if so is that an issue that your group or committee plans to take up?
MIKE MONTGOMERY: Well, I don't know that's an area that we would be involved. I certainly -- it was really unfortunate, tragic, for Jim, Jr. and Jim, Sr. That thing was really awful when it came out, the questions. My players had a lot of fun with it. My son that was in college and daughter had a lot of fun with it on the phone with it. Everybody got a big laugh. It really was sad that those kinds of things happen. I don't know who would be more qualified to teach a coaching of -- a legitimate coaching of basketball class than a member of, you know, your coaching staff. I taught that class at the University of Montana for three or four years when I was there. I enjoyed it. The kids enjoyed it. I think a lot of the responsibility there, it needs to be under the guidelines of some department. I don't think it should be offered under the athletic department guidelines. I think it would be under the auspices of the physical education department as a professional development class, because that's where it was at Montana at the time. I would like to think that the chair of the department would be responsible for the content of the class, make ask for a syllabus. Again, I don't think that's a totally isolated incident in that particular situation. But, again, ethically I'd like to feel like coaches can be responsible enough to fairly grade their own athletes as well as anybody else. And if there's requirements in the class, if they aren't met, that the appropriate grade or action would be taken. I would have to say that if it affected their eligibility, you'd probably go out of your way to give them ample opportunity to fulfill the requirements. I think that's only common sense.
JEFF HOWARD: We'll have President Brand comment, as well.
MYLES BRAND: Interesting question. I wonder if for consistency, you'd want to consider students in other parts of the university. Let me give you an example. My former institution, Indiana University has a great school in music, particularly in opera. Would you want to prohibit the director of an opera, and it's very competitive to get lead roles in this environment in opera, would you like to prohibit the director who is putting on the opera from teaching classes in voice that include students of hers or his who are trying out for that lead role? You know, those kinds of conflicts you're talking about are not unique to athletics. It's an interesting question, but I would warn against just looking at athletics if it really is an ethical issue. It pervades a lot of what goes on in terms of higher education.
Q. The reason I'm asking about athletics is because we're here talking about athletics, and the NCAA is moving in a direction where the coach's job, his number of scholarships, therefore his ability to succeed at the job, is based on his students' academic performances. It seems to me that raises some more issues.
MYLES BRAND: It does. But it raise -- it's also a broader issue. I understand why you're talking about athletics, but it's a broader issue, too. I think it's a general ethical question about the role of faculty members in working with students and whatever decisions they make about the success of the students they're working with, as well as their own success. A director of opera has to put on a good show.
PAT KENNEDY: I'm currently teaching a fly fishing course at Montana, if anybody wants to get involved with it.
Q. Mike and Kelvin, the incentive, disincentives, how much do y'all know about it? Do you think it's going to improve things? Obviously, there were some problems with the previous thing as far as graduation rates, how those were counted. With over 320 schools, Mike, you have a different situation at Stanford, Kelvin has a different situation at Oklahoma, but they seem to be wanting to put it all in the same cookie cutter to try to have a way to measure academic performance. What do y'all think about that?
KELVIN SAMPSON: I think with the eight-and-five rule, it came in almost in the cloak of darkness. We were reacting to it. Maybe we didn't know very much about it initially. Then the longer we got into it, the more we got into it, we found problems, not potential problems, but reality problems. For whatever reasons. Then there were some modifications came, there became some exceptions. I remember sitting in one of our head coaches' meetings in July in Indianapolis, Lefty Driesell standing up vehemently talking about a kid that died on his team, he had a scholarship open, but we couldn't fill it because there were no exceptions to the rule. We've had a lot of inherent problems with that rule, and we continue to work with that. But I think people, because of the eight-and-five rule, I think a lot of coaches are encouraged that that will be dissolved into the incentive, disincentive program. It's amazing how sometimes people ask us questions about scholarship issues or academic issues. I don't know of any coach that's against academics. We're pro academics. We're teachers. We want our kids to graduate. But at the same time, our job is to coach basketball. To give us and our student athletes the best opportunity to compete and be successful, there's some rules, they're not scientific. That's the great thing about what we're doing with President Brand and his staff now, we have a lot of rules that, quite frankly, shouldn't have been put in, because now we see the error in those ways and we're able to maybe go back and maybe revisit those things. If the eight-five was such a great rule, I don't think we'd be talking about incentives or disincentives. But this is an opportunity to make our game better, coaches, players. You know, I listen to Tom Izzo. Tom Izzo was talking this morning about the eight-five rule, incentives, disincentives. We need to find out more about it. We know way too much about the eight-five rule. Incentives, disincentives, we're still in kind of a fact-gathering process with that. But we're encouraged that it's at least going to give us some flexibility to prevent some potential problems.
MIKE MONTGOMERY: I think once the evaluation -- once they evaluate the graduation rates and fairly indicate what the graduation rates are, I've listened to a lot of coaches over the years complain about how they've been painted with an incorrect brush because the graduation rates don't fairly reflect what you're actually doing within your institution. Again, the NCAA staff really has understood that and is working very hard to develop a fair means of evaluating your graduation rates. Once they do that, I think it's going -- I think the incentives, disincentives will be fine. I think, as Kelvin says, there's not a coach that would not want their kids to graduate, spend the four years, have a successful career in the classroom and on the court, that's just what we do for a living. Really the only thing that I think the disincentives, incentives thing will catch is people who maybe aren't really doing the job, of which there's not a high percentage. There are probably some, just like in any business. It might catch those people a little bit. And if that forces them to rethink their policies a little bit, do a little bit better job, then I think that's positive. To be honest with you, I haven't spent a lot of time with it because it just doesn't affect me and I tend not to worry about things that don't affect me or I can't control. But I think once we iron out this graduation rate evaluation thing, that things will start to fall into place.
JEFF HOWARD: I'd like to clarify around Cory Maggette. He signed a national letter of intent November 12th, 1997. October '98 to March '99 played at Duke, reached the national championship, lost to Connecticut. June 1999, was selected to the NBA draft. Next question, please.
Q. Jim or any of the coaches, one of the historic problems I think in dealing with the NCAA specifically as it deals with football and basketball is the one-size-rule-fits-all doesn't work, and there's been a lot of argument and debate about having sport-specific legislation, for example for basketball only. I'm thinking last night they played the McDonald's All-American game, and not only was every NBA team there, every NBA team had a minimum of two people there, but there were no college coaches there because the rules prevent it. To me, that speaks at a common sense problem, that you should be able to overcome.
JIM HANEY: I think, you know, just to start, in our discussions in the last I would say year and a half, I think that we are encouraged to look at our game and not feel that we are bound to any other sport, whether it be football or any other sport, although I guess probably indirectly women's basketball probably because, you know, we're coaching the same game. It would sort of fall together. But I think we feel very independent as it relates to not feeling like what happens in football has to happen in basketball or any other sport. I don't think any of us up here as we look at our challenges here in the next months, that somehow we've got to be concerned about football. As relates to your comment about the McDonald's game and the NBA, I think, Mike used the word, sometimes you feel like it's really out of your control. If the NBA is going to draft players out of high school, then they seriously are going to be there in attendance. As long as there's an opportunity for kids to play on non-scholastic teams in the summer, the spring and the fall, they're going to be interested in playing. That's not something we can control. Those are things that are happening. There's a lot of people who have their hands sort of in basketball because of its popularity and how much attention it creates. I think what we're trying to do is focus on what we, in fact, think is best for the college game, taking into account that some of these other things helped create the environment. Some of them are out of our hands, out of our control.
Q. My point was not that they were there, but that you weren't. Would you prefer the opportunity for college coaches to be in that same environment?
JIM HANEY: I think right now the most important thing is for the college coach to be in San Antonio at the NABC convention so we talk about the issues affecting our game. I think we're in the midst of sort of a dead period. I think that dead period is an important period because, again, it allows us to come together once a year and talk about the issues and come out with some common understanding of how we can make the game better. Now, taking away from the McDonald's game, in terms of coaches having the ability to evaluate, one of the problems we have in our sport is attrition. We have student athletes who come into our programs who have high expectations thinking they may even be future NBA players. Certainly if they don't think they're NBA players, they think they're good enough to be playing at freshmen, then all of a sudden they don't get the playing time, their role on the team isn't what they believed it would be, what they want it to be, so we see a lot of people transferring. We think that part of that transfer is based on a lack of I would say probably access to having a better relationship coming in where we could spend more time - not necessarily time where you can sit down one-on-one facing each other, because we have some good opportunities for contact, but just to be able to talk to somebody on the phone, a prospect, where you can start to share and know what his thinking is and vice versa. We think that could help bridge this transition period between a person coming onto campus, all of a sudden not getting the playing time that he wanted coming in, and may help stop some of that attrition.
PAT KENNEDY: If I could add this. It seems like a lot of time over the years problems have been viewed from men's basketball as a sports-specific issue. Example, graduation rates, student athletes that can leave early and go to Europe, for example, make a living, they can come back and they're outside the time period of when they can graduate, it's used against you. So I think most coaches, I think that's the opportunity we have in the upcoming year, see sports-specific rules for men's basketball to be a positive thing, and that sports-specific rules for men's basketball will better address our problems so that when we have the problems, we don't look at them just as men's basketball problems but that we have ways to correct them and make them better. I think over the years, currently now people do want to see sports-specific rules that will really address our problems and I think that will help us a lot.
Q. Mike, your ethics committee, talking about the finding of lack of coach control, do you envision trying to propose penalties that would go with that finding? Would that be left to the committee on infractions? Regardless, personally what kind of ramifications do you think a finding like that should carry?
MIKE MONTGOMERY: Well, I don't know the right word, we're not a judiciary committee. I mean, the guys on the committee are college coaches. We're really talking about our peers. I think it would really be awkward for us to try to sit down and penalize. But I do think one of our jobs is going to be to try to educate, to try to be proactive, stay ahead of the game in terms of what's going on out there. Part of the thing that's going to help us is by dealing with the infractions committee, knowing what kinds of things they're investigating, knowing what kinds of things they're looking at, what they're hearing. We can then educate our membership as to, "Hey, look, here is what is going on out there. You need to pay attention to these things so we don't have as many things." I think that the things that we would be involved with in terms of penalty has more to do with lack of membership in the NABC which would be lack of ticket privileges, maybe a letter to a president, letter to an athletic director indicating that, you know, we're concerned about what's going on, and you need to be aware. Potentially not having a coach that has operated outside the rules be eligible for awards, not recommend that he be elected to coach of the year, maybe not have the opportunity to coach a USA basketball team, those kinds of things, rather than specific penalties. We really don't have the ability to do that, to be honest with you. We don't have the ability to do those kinds of things.
JIM HANEY: I heard a little different question. Let me clarify what I think is our position. Mike can add to it. We don't see ourselves identifying the penalties. We see that's in the infractions committee. I think all we're trying to do is raise the standard of accountability and responsibility for oversight over one's program and in essence motivate our coaches to make sure that they're proactive in terms of working with their staffs on how they're going to recruit the general code of ethics in terms of how they carry on their responsibilities and that of their program. Ours is to look at the legislation, but we're not doing any of the investigating, nor are we doing any of the assigning of penalties.
Q. With the incentives and disincentives package, to be simplistic, sometime in the near future your teams could lose scholarships, lose access to the tournament if your players aren't performing academically. Is that fair or appropriate?
PAT KENNEDY: Well, I think we're moving in the right direction, and I think the packages that will be decided over the course of probably the next year are going to put good, solid pressure on coaches, staffs, athletic staffs, academic advisement staffs, to certainly do a good job. So I think that it's a good thing. I think it's moving in the right direction. It is going to put pressure on people to do a better job, bringing in the student that fits that institution, doing a better job with the student when they're there, all their development. Again, I think we're moving in the right direction with that concept. Of course, we still have to see what is going to be finalized and how it's going to be implemented, but I think it's definitely in the right direction.
MIKE MONTGOMERY: I think, again, as long as it's fair. I mean, it has to absolutely be fair to the institution in terms of what is actually happened and not what perception might be. We have talked about this with President Brand. We've argued back and forth, which I think has been healthy. Ultimately what he said to us, which I think is really accurate, he looked and said, "Zero graduation is not acceptable." And that's true. I don't think any of us would feel that that was acceptable. But how you get to that number is the key question. As long as it's fairly evaluated, I think we need to live with that. I think that's something that if we need to have teeth, we have teeth. But nothing yet is cast in stone. I think maybe the first go-around, we'll find some flaws and hopefully again our ability to work together to make it right I think is what's encouraging.
KELVIN SAMPSON: I was listening to your question. We base our continuing eligibility or graduation rate in our program, for instance, on the number 30. We make sure our kids pass at least 12 credits each semester and six in the summer. That's 12, 12 and six. If they pass 30 credits a year times four, they're going to be in a position to get a degree in almost any curriculum on our campus. But that's our rules. Not every kid wants to go to college, but in this country, they're opportunity for those kids. You talk about the McDonald's All-American game. Well, look at the kids --er year it seems like there's new things that come up. A kid from Florida, a kid from Providence decided to go to Europe. Those kids may choose to do that because of the new incentive and disincentive things. Maybe some of those kids won't be recruited. That's the ramifications of all that. Will it change recruiting? I don't think dramatically. Will it change the game? No, I don't think it will change the game. I mean, these are things that are new. We hear these things. Everybody wants to take a "woe is me" attitude. Hey, you adjust. These are the rules, you follow the rules, you adjust to them. Everybody has the rules. It's not like anybody is going to have an advantage, disadvantage. The rules are the rules and we adjust to them.
JEFF HOWARD: Thank you for being here. Enjoy the tournament.
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