October 22, 2003

NABC Looks to Solve Problems

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Responding to allegations of poor ethics and a declining public image of college basketball, the National Association of Basketball Coaches met last week in Chicago in an effort to come up with a set of standards to help solve the problems facing college basketball.

“For the first time since I’ve been involved in the organization is that we’re now really a unified group of coaches, and we want to maintain a high standard of behavior,” said Cornell head coach Steve Donahue. “We’re going to raise our standards of everyone to a level that we each can understand each other, to trust each other, to do more as a unified group.”

The group agreed on a set of ethics that each program will customize to fit its specific program. Among the required elements of this code of ethics will be trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

The meeting was called in response to several circumstances of improprieties throughout college basketball last season. Most notable among them were the actions of former Georgia head coach Jim Harrick, academic violations committed by the St. Bonaventure program, the misuse of university funds by several Villanova players, and the murder of Baylor forward Patrick Dennehy and its subsequent scandal.

In order to play down the public relations effects of incidents such as these, the NABC agreed to self-police itself on ethics in the future.

“If you brought up every incident in the last year, it’s still 98 percent of the coaches who are doing what’s right,” said Donahue. “I believe the biggest change in the coaching situation is a high visibility due to the internet and the way things are done through all the media that is available. And two, there’s a great deal of guys making a whole lot of money, who bring people to look at the scrutiny of their behavior more than ever before.”

“It was a dramatically important day,” NCAA President Myles Brand told a press conference Oct. 15. “We wanted to re-affirm the commitment to the integrity and the code of ethics of the sport. We are moving forward. It was certainly a good day.”

Another change forthcoming in college basketball is a movement of the 3-point line, slated to take effect for the 2004-05 season. The 3-point line will be moved back nine inches, to 20-6 away from the basket.

“It doesn’t make a difference to the real good 3-point shooters, but maybe it makes a difference to the guy who just steps out and is within his range at the top of the key, it makes him a little less dangerous out there,” said Donahue of the proposed rule change.

The proposed rule change will be finalized at the NCAA management council meetings, which conclude tomorrow. The Division I management council has already approved the change, and the NCAA is now waiting for Divisions II and III to add their support.

Archived article by Owen Bochner