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New men's basketball commission will help NCAA build links with NBA, ensure integrity of recruiting

The Oct. 11 announcement from the NCAA on the inauguration of the Commission on College Basketball has met with praise from Creighton University Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen.

“I believe that this Commission is the appropriate reaction to an environment that has been plagued by a rapidly changing landscape,” said Rasmussen, who is also chairman of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. “I anticipate that we will see legislative, policy and structural modifications that will improve the integrity of our processes and more importantly, improve the welfare of our students who also happen to be athletes.”

In the wake of a federal investigation’s findings earlier this month on the influence of external organizations’ influence on recruiting practices, the Commission is charged with examining “critical aspects of Division I men’s basketball.” 

The NCAA has identified three areas of emphasis for the commission: relationships between apparel companies and other commercial entities and agents with the NCAA, its member institutions and athletes; the NCAA’s relationship with the National Basketball League and the so-called “one-and-done” rule; and creating a more robust, transparent relationship between the NCAA and the universities and colleges who participate in sports under its aegis.

Rasmussen said that in light of the recent findings, which included undue influence on collegiate recruits at high-profile institutions, the Commission, which comprises several leading names in athletics, government and civic life, is the right body to begin a substantive conversation. Among the Commission’s appointees are former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who will chair the Commission, retired U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and former NBA and college basketball stars Grant Hill and David Robinson.

“There are over 175,000 students who also happen to be Division I athletes,” Rasmussen said. “Many are first generation college students. The majority of these students proudly represent their institutions competing in a sport they love with teammates they love, trying to get better individually and as a team while their priority is working for a college degree, many without debt. This is the system which we need to continue to embrace. I believe this Commission will work diligently with the outside entities — the NBA, shoe and apparel companies, non-scholastic basketball and agents and advisors — to improve the integrity of this process.”

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