Since about the mid-1980’s, AAU Basketball was and still to this day, is how the big time College Basketball programs find their next superstars. The biggest problem with AAU Basketball in 2019? Corruption. In order to figure out where it starts, you have to begin at the Local level of AAU Basketball, anywhere in America. For some, it can be the exact exposure that a player needs for school to being “beating the door down” for their services. Not everyone can afford the type of exposure that comes with playing on an AAU team, as it could cost one’s parents close to $7,000, depending on the club you play on. Not every kid with college basketball dreams will be able to use this route, as not every kid’s parents have that type of money to spend. Kids can still be recruited by just playing High School basketball, but the chances of them playing for a “Blueblood” college team are slim to none, as AAU Basketball put you up against some of the best players in your Recruiting class. Sure, college coaches come to High School games, but many kids are standing out to these same coaches after the season as well.
On a National level, many of these AAU Teams are sponsored by Athletic Apparel companies such as Nike, Under Armour, adidas, etc. What has often bee seen as of the last few years is the leadership of these apparel sponsored teams lead many of these young kids to verbally commit to schools who are sponsored by the same apparel companies. This has presented a big red flag to the NCAA, as this can be perceived as corrupting the system. There is also the hiring of key High School coaches to a college staff, that is trying to recruit the players that once played for that same High School coach. While its not an illegal practice, it does give schools that do this a significant advantage on the recruiting front, when trying to sign key players to a scholarship. This same act happens on the AAU level, as parents and coaches of these, sometimes NBA Player sponsored teams, can be influenced to steer a player to a certain school, if they can gain something from it. Many times money has exchanged hands when it comes to college basketball recruitments and it sometimes has had damaging consequences.
Those of us that are deeply invested in the happenings of High School and college basketball know about the situation involving a former McDonald’s All-American, Brian Bowen. An ESPN Top 100 recruit in the High School Basketball Class of 2017, he once was committed to play for the University of Louisville for the legendary Coach Rick Pitino. Only that never came to fruition. It was found out that Brian Bowen’s family, namely his father, was promised $100,000 for his commitment to Louisville, although only just over $19,000 was found to be paid out. Because of this, he was banned by the NCAA from playing College Basketball for the University of Louisville and transferred to the University of South Carolina. Once there, he was told again that he was banned from playing College Basketball, where he finally made the decision to leave South Carolina to pursue his professional dream of playing basketball in Australia and prepare for the 2019 NBA Draft. Although, he seemed to be just a victim in what turned out to be a major National and Global bribery and fraud scheme, the NCAA selected former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice to head a committee to fix college basketball for the future.
Because of these impending charges, this has caused to NBA to react, finally submitting a bid to not only change the age of entry from 19 back to 18; restructure their minor league system, the G League, to help facilitate the development of elite high school players that wanted another option besides going to college or taking their talents overseas; and the ability of ‘elite” high school players to hire an agent before their Senior season to acquire as much knowledge and assistance with the process of becoming an professional basketball player.
- SGB Update. (2017, September 27). Will Sports Marketing Change Post-Bribery Scandal? Retrieved from SRBNet.com
- SGB Update. (2018, April 4). College Basketball Scandal Spreads To Kansas And NC State. Retrieved from SRBNet.com
- SGB Update. (2018, October 5). Brian Bowen Sr. Details Bribes From Multiple College Teams. Retrieved from SRBNet.com
- Givony, J. (2018, August 07). Ex-Louisville, South Carolina commit Brian Bowen to play professionally in Australia. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24312005/brian-bowen-signs-professional-contract-sydney-kings
- McCann, M. (2018, August 8). Did the NCAA really change CBB for the better? Retrieved March 3, 2019, from https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2018/08/08/ncaa-agents-student-athlete-one-and-done-nba-draft
- Norlander, M. (2017, October 11). Mark Emmert picks Condoleezza Rice to lead new committee to fix NCAA basketball. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/mark-emmert-picks-condoleezza-rice-to-lead-new-committee-to-fix-ncaa-basketball/
- Sokolove, M. (2018, September 18). The College Recruit and the Downfall of a Hall of Fame Coach. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/18/magazine/college-basketball-recruiting-bribery-case-rick-pitino.html