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AP Interview: Emmert: Changes needed, but not paying players

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NEW YORK (AP) – NCAA President Mark Emmert is hopeful the scandal roiling college basketball will lead to major rule changes, but schools paying players is likely a nonstarter.
In a 45-minute phone interview with The Associated Press, Emmert said he expects a commission to reform college basketball to put forth proposals that could modernize NCAA rules on player-agent relationships, devise new ways to handle high-profile enforcement cases and address the NBAs one-and-done rule. The commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is on track to give its recommendations NCAA leadership when the Division I Board of Directors meets in April 24-25.
Emmert says he does not think the NCAA is in crisis and that the “vast majority of what’s going on inside” the associations is working “incredibly well.”
“Yes we’ve got these very serious issues which require serious change and they erode people’s belief in the integrity of all college sports,” Emmert said. “That’s a very serious problem and that’s got to be addressed and we’re doing that right now and I’m really optimistic that before basketball season next year we’re going to have really meaningful change that makes this circumstance, if not completely go away, dramatically better than the problems that exist today.
“That’s not the same as saying that collegiate sports is in crisis,” Emmert said.
A federal investigation has alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks being funneled to influence recruits, an FBI probe that many fans believe reveals just a tiny slice of potential corruption in college sports.
In September, the Justice Department arrested 10 people, including four assistant coaches from Arizona, Southern California, Auburn and Oklahoma State. Payments of up to $150,000, supplied by Adidas, were promised to at least three top high school recruits to attend two schools sponsored by the shoe company, according to federal prosecutors.
Emmert said NCAA enforcement cannot investigate anything directly related to the case without the approval of prosecutors.
“It can be frustrating, of course, but that is the way we go about that,” Emmert said.
He added the NCAA is working with schools to provide clarity on possible violations related to news reports about the case.
Last week, by Yahoo Sports said it obtained documents showing dozens of prominent players, coaches and schools could be involved in breaking NCAA rules. Current Michigan State star Miles Bridges was cleared by the NCAA after a line item said an agent had given benefits to his mother.
The relationship between agents and players is one of four major components of the Rice commission’s work.
College hockey and baseball players can have business relationships with agents in high school without risking eligibility because professional leagues draft those players out of high school. Emmert said those rules might be used to guide rules for college basketball.
“How can a family and a player get the kind of advice, professional advice from reputable, responsible advisers and agents that they can use to make intelligent decisions for themselves and their families,” Emmert said. “Those are the questions that the commission is looking into as well.

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