I'm working on a story about the recent bullet points coming out of NCAA meetings in Indianapolis in the past week.
I'm still talking around, but I did get ahold of New Mexico State athletics director McKinley Boston about the increased APR expectations, which could result in the elimination of postseason play, as well as a new recruiting calendar for college basketball.
The increased APR expectations aren't going to be a problem exclusive to NMSU at all regarding men's hoops, as this article clearly shows. But the Aggies' hoops team is the only sport at NMSU with postseason expectations that falls below the current standard of 925. Unless there is a miracle on the football field this season or in seasons in the near future.
NMSU has done a good job since the APR was established of increasing its score every year. The Aggies had a 906 score in the most recent report. What saved NMSU from incurring postseason penalties in the past was the fact that they constantly improved over time. If the new standard of 930 is passed (more on that later) the NCAA is trying to do away with that waiver process, which kept the Aggies eligible for the postseason run they made to the NCAA Tourney two years ago.
While the NCAA seems determined to put an increased emphasis on academics, Boston still believes there will be a gray area depending on certain situations in how the new standard is implemented.
"We are talking about three or four years out," Boston said. "Schools with resources and money will find a way to fix it. I think that what we are seeing today and what we will be dealing with in the next three to four years, that the elimination of the waivers and appeal process is going to be so unfair to individual student athletes. You can always play hard ball but there are going to be extenuating circumstances where people just make mistakes. I don't see presidents being that inflexible myself."
NMSU and schools like NMSU will have a bigger adjustment to make I think. The school has used walk ons before to up the APR score and in order to compete on the court, some coaches take chances on players who may not be able to get the work done in the clasroom. Marvin Menzies has done a good job bringing in guys who aren't as liable in school than other coaches.
But let's look at his last roster.
Each player is worth two points per semester. One point is an eligibility point and other point is retention.
Abdoulaye N'doye transferred for more playing time but was eligible at the time he left making him a 1-for-2. Troy Gillenwater will count two points against NMSU or leaving while ineligible at the time he left (0-2) But had Gillenwater been eligible, there is a rule in the APR where if a player leaves school to pursue a pro career, he would only count for 1 point. Had Gillenwater been eligible at the time he left school (that's not to say he would have missed next season if he didn't leave) he wouldn't have hurt the APR.
"The key for us is the implementation," Boston said. "We are talking about anywhere from a three to five year cycle and I think we are going to be in good shape. I'm not concerned. Losing three points is not a bad thing. You don't want to lose any though."
It may not be a bad thing right now Boston and other schools are hoping that three points here or there will not add up and cost teams postseason consideration.
While it was a group of presidents that suggested the new APR guidelines, a number of those individuals will also be voting on the proposal at the next NCAA Board of Directors meeting in October. Since presidents suggested it and presidents are voting on it, chances are presidents will pass it.
"We all have a vote but if people are opposed to the new APR, there will plenty of presidents who will lobby against it," Boston said. "It will probably pass but it doesn't mean there won't be plenty of debates."
Also garnering headlines in Indy was the establishment of new recruiting calendar and text messages. Boston actually sits on the NCAA leadership council, which has been working on a proposal to the NCAA Board.
"It's been a year long process," Boston said. "We have had focus group discussions with coaches at the Final Four, the leadership of the Basketball coaches association about third party influences on recruiting."
Boston said his group last met Aug. 1-2 in Indianapolis, but its purpose was heavily talked about last week as well as reported on.
"We are still fine tuning what has to be done but the recruiting calendar and access to players are the highlights," Boston said. "It hasn't come forward as a finished product to the committee yet as a finished product but it will be ready to go to the Board by the October meeting."
Regarding a timeframe where changes including moving back the time a player can make official visits to re-implementing the text message as a form of communication, Boston said, "The current calendar is already in place. I don't think next summer's calendar will be the same as this summer's."
While the APR increase and the new schedule in recruiting are not linked exclusively, there is a correlation to be made there, at least in hoops.
Players transferring is a major factor in a school's APR number in the current college climate. From a basketball standpoint, I think the hope behind a new recruiting schedule means a better relationship between players and coaches and a better relationship leads to more player retention.
"Coaches have a longer time to know recruits and hopefully players and coaches will make better decisions," Boston said. "Coaches and players will make better decisions if they spend more time off campus and on campus. There will be less mistakes."