At the NCAA Convention in January, the Legislative Council approved a proposal to define 7th and 8th grade boys basketball players as “prospects.” This means that the NCAA rules that regulated the interaction between a Division I men’s basketball coach and high school age basketball players now also apply to 7th and 8th grade players.
While some people have commented how ridiculous it is that 7th and 8th graders are now considered “prospective student-athletes”, this legislation was actually enacted to try to protect talented basketball players of that age from being pursued as college recruits. Until this legislation was passed, it was permissible for men’s basketball coaches to call or write 7th and 8th graders in an effort to recruit them, because the rules did not prevent such action.
In fact, last summer University of Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillespie offered a scholarship to an 8th grader. Media reports at that time indicated that University of Kentucky President Lee Todd was shocked when he was informed of Kentucky’s newest basketball recruit.
Now, the rules will (or should!!!) prevent college basketball coaches from recruiting these young “stars” until they have completed their sophomore year of high school. Hopefully, this new rule will not be needed with other NCAA sports in the near future.