Commentary

The problem in recruiting

Updated: August 3, 2012, 2:55 PM ET
By Dick Vitale

The time has come ... Let's cut the nonsense out of college basketball recruiting.

The sport has been hurt by what has become a joke. What has transpired in the world of recruiting is unhealthy and taking a toll on a number of programs.

I have talked to a number of coaches, and they have spoken off the record about the incidents transpiring in summer basketball and the world of the AAU teams ruling the highly regarded players. Many of the coaches in these programs are peddling their players to the highest bidder.

What happened to the good old days when the high school coach was important? When recruiting was done with high school coaches involved, it was really done the right way.

Right now, college basketball recruiting has become a cesspool. It's getting to the point where you are embarrassed to be part of the game.

I know the game has been great to all of us, and I couldn't ask for a better life than what the sport has given me. The problem is that it is scary to hear what is happening.

Think about what is going on. You have donors, alumni from the big universities, laying down big dollars to these AAU programs. It is legal; not really ethical in a lot of cases, but not against the rules.

Why do these boosters give cash to AAU programs? Maybe, in return, if they have a great player, where do you think he goes to school?

It is becoming a nightmare. Who benefits these days? The schools with the most money available, and the people who are so wild and wacky that they will do anything to get that great player to their program.

Ethics mean zilch, and it is all about winning, winning, winning. That is bad for the sport, and it is sad to see guys looking only at the W's. Perhaps they should look in the mirror and realize that recruiting is not being done in the right way.

You have coaches who find loopholes and bend the rules as far as they can. I guess that is reality, my friends.

I will say that there are some coaches who do things the right way. There are some AAU programs that look out for the best interests of their players in a proper manner.

Think about great coaches who want no part of this problem. You don't hear of issues over players at North Carolina or Duke, for example. They don't have violations because, over the years, they have been in position to get the best of the best anyway. Guys want to play in outstanding programs, so there is a domino effect.

The problem with AAU coaches suddenly being hired as assistants in Division I is that they bring players with them. Deliver that great player, and it is not illegal. This has to be watched and observed.

We want to get rid of the guys involved in shady dealings. Just talk to the coaches out there and find out what is happening.

I believe we now need a czar in college basketball, someone given the kind of power to oversee the sport. We need someone strong enough and tough enough to make good rules to clean things up.

The time has come for this nonsense to stop.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.