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October 17, 2003 Columns No Comments


Coaches Meet to ‘Raise the Standard’

by Nick Dettmann

In the wake of the scandals from this past summer, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the NCAA decided to meet and try to come up with a way of correcting the problems that faces college basketball and its coaches.

The meeting, with over 300 Division I men’s head basketball coaches in attendance, focused on raising the moral and ethical standards of the coaching profession. After three hours of deliberation, each coach walked out of the O’Hare Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago on Oct. 15 with a sense of hope and unity about the sport that each of them has a deep love for.

The gathering in Chicago was a mandatory attendance for all of the coaches. For a coach that did not attend, they forfeited their 2004 Final Four ticket privileges.

“I’ve been a coach for nine years,” Mike Brey, head coach at the University of Notre Dame, said. “We walked out of there with a common ground and as a unit. That was probably the best coaches meeting that I have ever attended.”

“Everyone met today to talk about raising the standards,” Tom Izzo, head coach at Michigan State, said. “We wanted to get everyone on the same page. This meeting certainly helped us do that.”

“All of our coaches are unified around an action plan to further embrace the ethical and moral standards of our profession,” said Kelvin Sampson, NABC President and head coach at the University of Oklahoma. “With this solidarity, we will share the best practices of all our members and move forward advocating a new season of change and accountability.”

“It was a dramatically important day,” said Myles Brand, President of the NCAA. “We wanted to re-affirm the commitment to the integrity and the code of ethics of the sport. We are moving forward. It was certainly a good day.”

“We are all very lucky to be called a coach,” Mike Krzyzewski, Vice-President of the NABC and head coach at Duke, said. “We all understand what it is means to be called a coach; to form a team. We want to team up as an organization and help take care of the game. We have now taken that initial step. I am very encouraged.”

At the meeting, the head coaches agreed to customize a code of ethics, for both players and coaches, to fit their specific program. The code of ethics include: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Each coach agreed to take these codes of ethics back to their institutions, talk it over with their staff and student-athletes, and then return it as part of the coach’s commitment to upholding the moral and ethical values of their treasured profession.

In the coming weeks, the NABC will examine the rules changes that, in the spirit of accountability, continue to enhance the ethical and moral expectations of all college basketball coaches. The NABC will also review and provide suggestions on stiffer penalties for secondary recruiting violations. In addition, the association’s Board of Directors authorized the Ethics Committee to institute a plan to formally respond to unacceptable behavior, including penalties, which could include suspending membership rights.

Also announced at the meeting, the NABC will launch a five-session professional development program mandated for all Division I assistant coaches at this year’s Final Four in San Antonio. The workshops will cover recruiting rules, diversity, character, ethics and morals. The final class will be a panel of athletic directors and university presidents discussing what they look for when hiring a head basketball coach.

“This is a risky profession,” Bruce Pearl, head coach at UW-Milwaukee, said. “I was very frustrated to hear about the events this past summer. You feel bad for the parties involved. People lost their jobs and more importantly, one lost his life. Our character is in question and things are not good right now. But we got to be held accountable for our actions.

“I really felt that we got something done in there,” Pearl added. “I am proud to be a part of this profession and this brotherhood that each of us has in our love for the game.”

Each coach was given a folder that contained a list of the code of ethics for coaches and for the student-athlete. In addition, each coach was handed a copy a book entitled “The Purpose Driven Life”. The book was purchased by the University of New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay.

“As ‘Guardians of the Game’, it is our responsibility to protect the integrity of the sport and those who participate in it,” Jim Haney, Executive Director of the NABC, said. “With these new initiatives, we continue to strengthen our commitment to upholding the ‘Game Plan for Amateur Basketball’, as well as developing programs that a positive impact on the sport.”

     

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