NCAA Council approves NIT-type tourney for women's basketball, votes to revive NCAA-run recruiting academies

NCAA Council approves NIT-type tourney for women’s basketball, votes to revive NCAA-run recruiting academies

On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council approved bringing back NCAA-sanctioned summer basketball academies and recruiting events for high school boys, sources told CBS Sports. In addition, the creation of a girls high school basketball academy event for the first time was also approved. The Council also passed a proposal for women’s college basketball to have a secondary postseason tournament — “an NIT-level tournament,” as one source put it — with a target start date of March 2024.

The NCAA Board of Directors must approve the multi-million-dollar spending that would come with that tournament. The Board of Directors will meet in person in Indianapolis on Oct. 25.

As for the academies, they remain a point of controversy in college basketball. In summer 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA held its first boys basketball academies in four sites across the country. The directive came as a recommendation from the Rice Commission. The academies — which, in effect, function as recruiting events — failed to draw many high-end prospects. They also drew criticism from many basketball coaches who viewed the NCAA-sponsored events as bland and an unnecessary addition to the recruiting calendar. Nevertheless, one source said this project remains an important directive for the NCAA.

They’ll be back up and running in 2023. But instead of holding academies in four locations, the high school boys basketball academy will be at just one location with the girls at another. Locations for the academies will go out to bid in the coming weeks.

“NCAA basketball has to have presence in the summer period,” a source told CBS Sports. “There’s no NCAA Summer League or 3-on-3 tournament to keep college basketball in the picture. Kids are seeing G League, Summer League and it’s (Dan) Gavitt’s way of keeping college basketball a little relevant in the summer.”

On that note, there is another intriguing idea gathering momentum. Though it wasn’t voted on by the DI Council on Wednesday, could come up for vote later this fall.

The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee puts on Monday and Tuesday in Indianapolis. According to sources, the committee discussed the potential of having college basketball teams play made-for-TV exhibition games during the summer. A lot of details need to be determined, but if allowed, the rule change could enable men’s and women’s college basketball teams to organize two or perhaps as many as three unofficial games with the capacity sell tickets and provide NIL opportunities for players in the heart of the summer.

There might even be an opportunity for teams to come together and hold four- or eight-team multi-team events instead of one standalone game.

“The commissioners talked about needing to have something more meaningful,” one commissioner told CBS Sports. “College basketball needs to create something more meaningful in the summer.”

The topic came up during last week’s meeting of all 32 commissioners in Chicago. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey noted how successful Kentucky’s televised 2022 trip to the Bahamas was in this regard. Schools could potentially opt for a number of things: 3-on-3 tournaments, special showcases for players, skills competitions and plenty more. The NABC has also been pushing for the idea.

“Every idea is going to be open as to how to do that,” a commissioner told CBS Sports.

Another source told CBS Sports that higher-ups in the NCAA are on board with the idea, which came from the NABC’s ad hoc committee on addressing larger issues facing college basketball. There is a sense of urgency in getting this to be approved for the summer of 2023. Approval from the Division I Council and the Board of Directors would need to happen in the coming months.

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