Monday, July 27, 2009

The Shady Side of Recruiting

Since we're in the AAU/high school circuit this month, I thought I'd post a link to a NY Times article talking about the fleecing that tournament promoters and organizers are doing to college coaches. With every basketball program getting squeezed by its administrators, the NCAA needs to get involved with this situation.

Here are a few selected passages for the article.

Tournament organizers and summer basketball coaches have long charged significant fees for packets of information about potential Division I recruits — player rosters, phone numbers and e-mail addresses — that are the lifeblood of the billion-dollar college basketball business.

Antonio Curro, the tournament director, defended his prices, saying that he provided food for the tournament coaches and that he needed to feed his family. Curro also cited the costs of gym rental, employees and referees. He said that three coaches sneaked into the gym to avoid paying the $250 and that he made them purchase the packet because bootlegs were so prevalent.

“Everything we did was legitimate by the N.C.A.A.,” he said. “There is no rule for anyone setting the price.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Texas-Pan American Coach Ryan Marks, whose recruiting budget is $25,000, needs the packets to identify and reach out to undiscovered players. “We could spend a fifth of our recruiting budget on packets in July alone,” he said.

While the packets usually cost hundreds of dollars, they rarely have pertinent information, like players’ jersey numbers.