As reported by Inside Higher Ed, at its annual convention last week, the NCAA revised its definition of “prospective student-athlete” solely for men’s basketball to include students in the seventh grade. The impact of the legislation will ensure basketball coaches can no longer work at camps at which seventh and eighth graders play; institutions are also barred from running such camps. The effort was approved overwhelmingly after the concern that more elite basketball camps created an unfair recruiting advantage for some institutions and fostered an unhealthy environment for young players. When asked about the rationale to create the legislation, Joe D’Antonio, chair of the NCAA Division I Legislative Council and associate commissioner of the Big East Conference, said: “It’s a little scary. Where does it stop? The fact that we’ve got to this point is really just a sign of the times.”
In May 2008, William “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor of the University of Maryland system and co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, called on colleges and the NCAA to end the practice of offering scholarships to students as young as the eighth grade.