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NCAA set to make significant changes to college basketball recruiting calendar

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NC State v Louisville Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

July is one of the busiest months on the college basketball recruiting calendar for D-I coaches—it includes an extended “live period” which means coaches are on the road watching top recruits at various AAU events, making sure they are front and center for their top targets.

Among other things, July’s significance is about to change, per this report from CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander. The NCAA is expected to implement an adjusted recruiting calendar next week that, moving forward, will shift some of the live period from July to June. There are larger implications to this than you’d think. Norlander:

In July, coaches will be moved from from three weekends to one when it comes to attending sanctioned, non-scholastic (so-called “AAU”) events. The earliest five-day July evaluation period will remain in place; coaches will still be able to attend Nike’s Peach Jam and other non-scholastic tournaments in that window. The month itself is shrinking from three recruiting weekends to two, with the second featuring camp-style events that will be coordinated by the NCAA, USA Basketball, the NBA and the NBA Players Association.

Shrinking the window for AAU tournaments in July is significant because there are of course three major apparel companies with their own events/elite talent showcases. These had been spread out over July, but now could end up in direct competition with each other.

Adidas, Nike and Under Armour (and, if it opts to get into this world, Puma) are aware of the drastic change to the recruiting calendar that’s coming. The onus is on those companies to decide if they want to adjust the timetable for their biggest youth basketball events. If they do, it could mean that Nike, Adidas and Under Armour all have their biggest championship events concluding simultaneously, which hasn’t been the case up to now.

The main point to the changes is reducing the influence of the shoe companies and AAU programs on recruiting—this in the wake of the FBI’s wide-ranging investigation into this side of college basketball. This is why the NCAA is reducing access in July while also adding camps of its own that are organized with the aid of the NBA and USA Basketball.

Will any of this actually lessen some of the sleaze factor that exists within recruiting? Will it end up a headache for coaches? Will it end up hurting some of the prospects on the low-to-mid-major end of the recruiting spectrum? I’m skeptical that anything productive will result from the changes—hard to alter the course of a machine with so much intertia—but maybe there are benefits that will become clear after these rules are implemented.