NCAA hoops coaches to meet - East Valley Tribune: Sports

NCAA hoops coaches to meet

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Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2003 2:08 am | Updated: 2:05 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

It was a tumultuous season in college basketball with a number of embarrassing off-the-field incidents overshadowing Syracuse's run from unranked to national champion.

Real world issues intruded on the sport as never before.

If it wasn't the president of a private school allowing an ineligible player to play, it was a coach caught enjoying the high life with coeds.

Grade fixing and illegal payments had always been part of the sport. But never murder.

Until this year.

The shooting death of a Baylor basketball player, a teammate arrested and charged for the crime, rocked the sport to its foundation.

Or so Jim Haney, head of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, believes.

Haney has called for what could be described as an emergency meeting Tuesday in Chicago at the airport Hilton.

To get his point across that the more than 300 Division I coaches are required to attend, Haney's e-mail stated those skipping the meeting would not receive their Final Four tickets.

Is this meeting needed? Or, is it show?

Rob Evans, the veteran Arizona State coach, says the coaching fraternity needs to discuss its problems.

However, Jay John, the second-year coach at Oregon State, wonders if this is all a publicity stunt and says the timing is wrong with practice beginning Saturday.

"I don't know how you legislate morality," John said. "Yeah, we have to do something. But I do something every day in my life trying to do the right thing, the way I treat people, and maintaining dignity along the way."

Evans, of course, does this, too, but still finds the meeting necessary.

"We need to change the way some things are done," he said. "We've got to make some decisions on how we want to be perceived. We have to try to do it the right way, otherwise people are not going to see us as people with integrity."

Evans said the Sept. 4 memo from Haney caught him by surprise. The e-mail was also sent to the members of the United States Basketball Writers Association.

The ticket threat was the surest way for the coaches to understand the urgency.

"If you have to do that, you already understand people wouldn't come," John said.

"Is the meeting the right time to do it? I understand what they're doing. What I'm paid to do right now is get ready to coach, and coach. Now, I'm going to make a one-day trip."

Basketball has always taken more hits than other sports because it's the only sport where one player can so influence the team. Remember what David Robinson did for Navy and Larry Bird for Indiana State? Haven't really heard from either school since.

That makes the sport more susceptible to rules violations and players more agreeable to corruption.

One or two mercenaries with no academic substance can get an unlikely team to the NCAA Tournament.

"For the 95 percent of us to take the hit for five percent is not right," said John, a Tucson native. "But what's not right sells papers. I don't feel the negative image on a daily basis of what I do.

"I can't control what people think. I'm not going to be held hostage by that."

Evans was asked if he thought anything would be accomplished.

"We've got to address some hard issues. With (Temple coach) John Chaney there, that's something (ethics) I know they'll address," he said. "We have to understand we have an image problem."

Skeptical, John figures while someone is yakking during the three-hour meeting he'll be thinking about his practice schedule.

"Five to 10 coaches will probably say something and the rest of us will be sitting there," he said.

Stanford's Mike Montgomery and Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson are among the group's leaders as members of the ethics committee.

"I understand the perception," John said. "I don't feel the pain."

While heading to Chicago with a different attitude than John, Evans did say, "If I go and come out with something, it's worth it. If we go, and it's window dressing, it's not worth it."

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