Pac-12 Task Force Recommends Sweeping Changes in Wake of N.C.A.A. Investigation

Pac-12 Task Force Recommends Sweeping Changes in Wake of N.C.A.A. Investigation

Last year, federal prosecutors filed complaints from a yearslong investigation in which, the prosecutors said, four Division I assistant coaches were bribed to steer players toward would-be agents and financial advisers, and in which an Adidas executive helped use the company’s money to try to steer high school prospects to college programs sponsored by Adidas.

Documents associated with the cases have implicated dozens of current and future players on prominent programs, casting something of a pall over the annual Division I men’s basketball tournament, the N.C.A.A.’s marquee event that tips off this week.

Scott pointed to the remarks of high-profile players like LeBron James, who argued that the N.B.A. had a mission to clean up the sport of basketball and suggested it would be in the N.B.A.’s best interest to help college basketball put its house in order.

“It’s not good for the N.B.A. to have some of their next-generation stars embroiled in controversies and having their reputations besmirched for integrity issues,” Scott said.

He added: “There’s been a bit of a wake-up call, that this is the N.B.A. and N.B.A. players’ association forcing young men that don’t want to go to college to go to college for a year.”

The Pac-12 report, endorsed unanimously by the presidents and chancellors of the conference’s members, also recommended removing summer basketball programs from the purview of the apparel giants, three of whom — Nike, Adidas and Under Armour — currently administer vast leagues that are ground zero for college recruiting, even as those companies also funnel billions of dollars in gear and cash to the college programs they sponsor. The report also advocated full transparency of apparel deals with coaches and universities.

The Pac-12 includes two prime examples of the power that apparel companies can exert in college sports. Two years ago, U.C.L.A. and Under Armour signed the richest apparel deal in college sports, worth $280 million over 15 years. And the University of Oregon has become known as the University of Nike for the hundreds of millions that Nike’s founder, Phil Knight, an Oregon alumnus, has bestowed upon the university’s athletic program, playing a major role in making the Ducks national contenders in football and men’s basketball.

“We’re not proposing radical change in the relationship between shoe companies and our schools,” Scott said. “They play an important and helpful role in many respects.”

“However,” he added, “there is a perception that there can be unhealthy relationships.”

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