Blog Entry

How rampant is illegal contact in the summer?

Posted on: August 3, 2011 1:11 pm
p>By Jeff Borzello

Just to put it out there: it’s not just Duke and Alex Poythress.

Since’s story about Poythress adding an offer from Duke after the AAU Super Showcase, a media storm has descended on Mike Kryzewski, Poythress and the Blue Devils.

The reason: Poythress spoke with Coach K during the July live period – a possible violation of an NCAA rule that states coaches and players cannot have contact while a player is with his AAU team at an event. Duke and the NCAA are both investigating the matter, which could result in a light punishment for the Duke coaches.

As my colleague Gary Parrish wrote in his Monday column, it’s not a big deal and the rule is silly.

For a follow-up to the story, contacted nearly a dozen top-100 recruits to gauge how often “illegal contact” occurs during the July live period. All spoke off the record.

Four were adamant that they had zero contact with colleges during the evaluation period, and one left the door slightly open.

“I didn’t get any calls, that I know of,” he said. “I probably did and they left a voicemail. I’m not really sure.”

Another didn’t receive any calls or texts, but did make phone calls on three separate occasions to schools after his AAU coach told him they had reached out.

“I honestly didn’t know [it was a violation],” he said. “I thought you’re allowed to call them.”

One prospect received similar requests from colleges to call a coach, but he refused after seeing the Poythress story.

“I knew it was a violation and wasn’t going to take a chance the way this situation went down,” he said.

Coaches are finding creative ways to get around the no-contact rule, although these strategies might be illegal, as well.

“Some college players would text me and tell me so and so is coming to the game,” one prospect said.

Another prospect said a coach “accidentally” texted him. While that might be true, it could also be another trick in the battle between coaches and the NCAA rulebook.

More on Recruiting

It’s almost amusing to watch coaches go the extra mile to avoid making blatant contact with prospective recruits. In the Orlando airport last week, I saw a head coach and one his committed players standing on opposite sides of the baggage claim. Each clearly knew the other one was there; they just didn’t acknowledge it.

Not everyone has adhered more closely to the rules in the wake of the incident. One recent commitment came as a result of a coach calling the grandfather of a high school prospect while the player was at a July AAU tournament.

For the most part, though, the Duke-Poythress story put everyone on an even higher alert.

“Everybody was really acting scared,” one prospect said.

When it comes down to it, most of the recruits hold the same opinion as the rest of the people in basketball.

Said one player: “I really don’t think it’s a big deal that they offered him during a tourney. But that’s just me.”

Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:52 am

How rampant is illegal contact in the summer?

One prospect received similar requests from colleges to call a coach, but he refused after seeing the Poythress story.

“I knew it was a violation and wasn’t going to take a chance the way this situation went down,” he said.

This is a beneficial by-product of the Duke story. At least recruits are more aware. Gary says it is no big deal but in this country disagreeing with a rule or law does not permit one to break it. There are many rules that seem silly in the NCAA rule book. Even the NCAA acknowledges this. But what do we teach these young men by cheating on a rule? What message does this send from coaches who have professed themselves as trainers of men for life?

I understand that there are few ways to catch the cheaters. Saying one that has been exposed as a violation is no big deal is contra productive even though there may be few consequences. Hopefully the national publicity will be sufficient to avoid a repeat, at least by that coach. The system is broken. Everyone seems to agree. Playing 83 games in four months, putting this much pressure on kids so young, offering so many ways to cheat (remembering that many rules are to protect the players from the coaches.) All for the choice of a few top recruits that can take a coach to the top or leave him hanging. How do you control coaches who are paid several millions per year? The answer is you don't except to hold the cheaters (whoever they are) to public approbation and scorn.

Since: Mar 25, 2009
Posted on: August 3, 2011 1:17 pm

How rampant is illegal contact in the summer?

If this was any coach besides CBS's and ESPN's favorite son, RatBoy, this story would be blowing up right now, especially if it were a Calipari or a Pitino or some other non-ACC school.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or