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NCAA Approves Basketball Changes

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA Division I board of directors unanimously approved a package of basketball rules changes Thursday, including a proposal to eliminate men's summer recruiting in 2002.

``The board is eliminating summer basketball environments as we now know it,'' said Penn State president Graham Spanier, chairman of the board of directors. ``We will scale back in 2001, then we will replace it in 2002.''

Spanier said the new program is designed to reduce ``the unsavory influences affecting the lives of young people and the integrity of our programs.''

Coaches currently are allowed 24 days of recruiting during the summer, including attending camps sponsored by shoe manufacturers. Spanier said while the NCAA cannot prevent the camps from continuing, it can prohibit coaches from attending them.

The board's actions could be overturned by the membership, though Spanier said that is unlikely.

``They've had fairly broad representations in the discussions and very strong support nationally from the NCAA's presidents across the country,'' he said.

The board also approved the formation of a Division I basketball issues committee, which will be chaired by Syracuse chancellor Kenneth Shaw. The panel will be asked to design a new approach to the summer effective in 2002.

The proposals were among nine passed two weeks ago by the Division I Management Council and forwarded to the board for consideration at its quarterly meeting.

``We are sending a clear message that there are going to be changes,'' Spanier said. ``Those must be substantive changes that return the recruiting and decision making process to athletes, to parents, to high school coaches and to university coaches and administrators.''

The NCAA suspended several players this past season who reportedly received financial support before they began attending colleges, including gifts and money.

Another change will allow men's and women's basketball recruits to receive scholarships to attend classes in summer school before their first semester in college if they enroll in at least six hours of courses. The NCAA said it will provide $3 million per year to provide up to 50 percent of an institution's cost for the program. The program will be a five-year pilot program and be assessed when it expires.

Another proposal would limit initial scholarships to no more than five in one year and eight over two years.

The board also approved a two-tier system for punishing student athletes who engage in forms of sports gambling.

Under the first tier, student athletes who try to influence the outcome of a game, influence a game's scoring margin, solicit or accept a bet or take part in any form of gambling involving games played by their school will permanently lose eligibility in all college sports.

Meanwhile, student athletes who solicit or accept a bet in any gambling activity involving intercollegiate athletics or professional athletics will be ineligible for all regular and postseason competition for at least a year and also will lose a year of eligibility.

The board also approved legislation that would not allow midyear transfer student-athletes in men's and women's basketball to be eligible for competition until the following academic year. This would apply to both two-year and four-year transfers and would be effective Aug. 1, 2000.

The board also approved the implementation of Life Skills programs at member schools, programs that would focus on the total development of student-athletes.

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