End of the Peach Jam? NCAA changes might alter landscape for recruiting elite players

Team United’s Juwan Gary dunks during a game against Drive Nation during the Nike Peach Jam tournament in North Augusta, S.C.
Team United’s Juwan Gary dunks during a game against Drive Nation during the Nike Peach Jam tournament in North Augusta, S.C.

Last April, an independent commission spearheaded by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made some recommendations to the NCAA to help improve college basketball.

The commission was established in response to the recruiting scandal that enveloped the sport last year.

This week, national basketball reporter Jeff Goodman took to Twitter to share some of the changes currently being considered. They include:

Allowing college coaches to attend scholastic events sanctioned by state high school athletic associations during the last two weekends in June.

Starting a six-day evaluation period in July for coaches to attend NCAA youth development camps.

Potentially allowing college players to return to school and play if they declare for but are not taken in the NBA draft.

Allowing student-athletes to take official visits (paid for by the school) to colleges on Aug. 1 of the players’ junior year in high school. That’s five months earlier than allowed now. And unofficial visits (paid for by the student-athlete) could only begin after Aug. 1 of the player’s sophomore year. There is no restriction now.

Currently, colleges coaches evaluate recruits during “live periods” in April and July, when the majority of the elite shoe company leagues are being played. The new proposals would likely end a coach’s ability to attend the showcase events in July put on by Nike (Elite Youth Basketball Association or “EYBL”), adidas (Gauntlet) and Under Armour (Under Armour Association).

The April live period would remain, but the proposals could potentially return a large chunk of summer recruiting to the high school team camps.

In North Carolina, many teams go to camps on college campuses throughout the Carolinas in June to play other schools in live games to get ready for the season.

N.C. High School Athletic Association commissioner Que Tucker said the potential NCAA calendar changes were a topic of discussion at the National Federation of High Schools summer meetings. She said the NFHS has been in communications with the NCAA about the changes, specifically former NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield, now the NFHS Chief Operating Officer.

The NCAA “has not solidified anything yet,” Tucker said. “But some of (the state associations) have rules and regulations that would prohibit some of the ideas being tossed out. And right now, it’s all about basketball. We also have to think of equity issues. Do you just talk men’s and women’s basketball? How do other sports factor in? If we try to set up opportunities for college coaches to come and see basketball players in summer, how do we do that and stay within the rules?”

Tucker, however, is supportive of the idea of getting high school coaches more involved with the basketball recruitment process.

“Anything that can be done to get the high school coach back into and onto center stage in the recruiting process ought to be given serious consideration,” Tucker said. “We believe our coaches are certified to help athletes make those kinds of decisions in concert with the parents.

“We would have discussion about whatever (the commission and NCAA) come up with, with our N.C. basketball coaches association. Our rules allow our high school coaches to work with their students and we wouldn’t have some issues other states might have. Right now, our schools have camps already and can take anybody who played last year, potential players this upcoming year. So some of it becomes much more manageable and easier to think we could be involved.”

Here are the tweets released by Goodman this week about potential changes: