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NCAA gives initial nod to 12-game schedule
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- While most of the proposals from basketball coaches seeking more access to players and prospects will get further consideration from the NCAA, they are a long way from gaining final approval.
"The details are in place," NCAA Division I vice president David Berst said Sunday. "Work has to be done in trust-gap issues. That is the impediment we need to overcome."
Berst said coaches still have to convince many administrators and faculty that the purpose of their proposals is to have more mentoring opportunities with players, and isn't just a way to gain more practice time.
"If this had been the final vote, I believe it would have failed," Berst said. "It runs to the lack of trust, and whether coaches are sincere in their claims."
The 44 proposals from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Womens Basketball Coaches Association were among 146 for various sports considered Sunday by the NCAA Division I Management Council.
The council gave initial approval to making permanent a 12th football game each season for Division I and I-AA teams, something that couldn't take effect before the 2006 season. There was little discussion of that issue.
Schools are now allowed 12th games only in seasons when there are 14 Saturdays between Labor Day weekend and the last weekend in November. The 2003 season qualified for additional games, but the next won't come until 2008.
All issues forwarded by the management council Sunday are subject to open comment over the next 60 days. The council meets again in April, when it reconsiders the proposals before deciding whether to forward them to the NCAA Board of Directors for final approval.
Since becoming NCAA president two years ago, Myles Brand had urged basketball coaches to get involved with trying to correct what they considered problems.
That led to the package of proposals from the NABC and WABC. Many of the ideas are designed to allow more access to players and signees, including the ability to work with players during the offseason and to observe voluntary, non-organized activities like pickup games.
The coaches also sought some recruiting changes.
"The backbone of what they wanted is still in place," said America East Conference commissioner Chris Monasch, the chairman of the Management Council.
Monasch said a "significant portion" of the council's daylong meeting was spent on the basketball proposals. He said some were initially turned down, but were revived and forwarded after further discussion.
The council, however, denied a proposal to permit additional benefits to men's basketball players such as occasional meals and special circumstance gifts of up to $50 for birthdays and such.
Berst said if such benefits are considered, they need to be considered for all sports. He said he wouldn't be surprised to see a similar proposal in the future. That issue, however, can't be considered in April.
Also denied was a proposal to allow schools to pay for airfare for one parent to accompany prospects during official visits.