INDIANAPOLIS – Midnight Madness is going back to its regularly scheduled date next season.
The NCAA’s board of directors passed emergency legislation Thursday that prevents basketball coaches from holding opening-night festivities earlier than the governing body’s normal start date.
President Myles Brand said the proposal was made by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, who originally asked the NCAA to allow coaches up to two hours of additional practice time each week beginning in mid-September. The rule was intended to help players and coaches work on skill development.
Instead, Kentucky, West Virginia and several other schools took advantage of a loophole and scheduled their Midnight Madness parties a week earlier than other schools, which waited until Oct. 17.
The board made sure there wouldn’t be any questions next year.
“If we wanted it to start a week earlier, we would have scheduled it a week earlier,” Brand said in a conference call. “When we passed the legislation, it was to work with student-athletes, and it was done at the request of the coaches so they had a better opportunity to work with the kids. A few coaches took advantage of it by holding a big celebratory event a week early and get an edge in recruiting.”
Brand was upset at what happened, saying the rescheduled version of Midnight Madness did not comply with the spirit of the rule. He acknowledged, however, that those schools did not violate the rule because there was no prohibition of using those practices hours for such an event.
Now coaches will retain their two-hour-a-week window, but the NCAA will not allow it to be a public event.
The board also discussed three potentially contentious topics – starting an Academic Progress Report for individual coaches, creating stronger penalties for major NCAA violations and reducing the window for college athletes to withdraw from the NBA draft.
The APR was designed to grade each team’s success in the classroom by measuring individual players on academic eligibility and whether they remained in school. Each team records an overall score, and some teams are now facing significant penalties for consistently poor performance in the classroom.
But the board believes coaches should be scored, too, and that those scores should follow them from school to school.
The committee also wants to publicly name staff members involved in infractions cases, create a new set of penalties to equitably fit the violation and eliminate the reward for cooperating with NCAA investigators. Rather, the committee believes schools should be punished for refusing to cooperate.
The NCAA will now seek input from member schools.