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Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth favors several of commission’s proposals but implementing changes could be tough

Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth found few surprises among the Commission on College Basketball’s recommendations.

Then again, he wasn’t expecting any.

“A lot of it is very positive,” said Roth, stressing his appreciation of the commission’s efforts. “At the same time, a lot of it is not going to be easy to pull off.”

That’s because a lot of it relies on entities outside of the NCAA – the NBA, the NBA players association, USA Basketball and shoe/apparel companies, etc. – to make many of the proposals a reality.

For example, the commission called for an end to the one-and-done rule. One problem: The NCAA has no say in the matter. It’s an NBA rule. The NBA seems to be moving toward benching the rule, but it probably won’t happen until the 2020 draft at the earliest.

“I do believe allowing kids to go from high school to the NBA will help the situation,” Roth said.

Zach Collins became Gonzaga’s first one-and-done player when he went in the first round of the 2017 draft. That avenue – players leaving after one year of college – would still be an option.

Roth also supports the commission’s suggestion for stiffer penalties for coaches and schools caught violating rules. He also likes the idea of independent investigators instead of the NCAA’s in-house system but he’s not sure what that would entail.

“Let’s face it, and they say it in the report, currently the rewards for violating the rules far outweigh the risks,” Roth said. “Clearly penalties haven’t been strong enough.”

The commission’s attempt to oversee AAU and “non-scholastic” basketball calls on the NCAA to join with the NBA and USA Basketball in running summer recruiting events.

“It’s become a huge business and you get into the business side of it and that’s where good things can happen and also bad things,” Roth said. “The people that profiting from the AAU circuits aren’t going to go quietly into the night.”

The path to a level playing field is complicated, Roth said.

“Hopefully we can get to a point where we don’t have the frustration that we do have in our business,” Roth said. “You’re competing against another school and you heard it when the FBI thing hit, some coaches are really frustrated that they knew for years other schools aren’t playing by the same rules, but in the court of public opinion they get compared to them and their jobs are on the line.

“As they talk about in the report, college basketball is a huge business. There’s a lot of money at stake, and whenever there’s a lot of money at stake people sometimes lose their moral, ethical ways.”


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