Pac-12 announces recruitment task force

The Pac-12 announced on Thursday that it would create a new task force aimed at solving issues surrounding the recruitment of college athletes.

“We believe strongly in the educational mission of college sports and its positive impact on student-athletes,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a press release. “We are committed to taking the concrete action … to combat threats to the integrity of college athletics, and to both protecting our student-athletes and ensuring fair competition for the athletic programs in which they participate.”

The announcement came one day after the NCAA created the Commission on College Basketball, which aims to fix nationwide corruption in college basketball recruiting that was revealed by an FBI investigation in September. The Pac-12 task force aims to address the issues that have been raised in multiple Pac-12 men’s basketball programs as part of a nationwide investigation by the FBI.

Scott said that the conference is working to stay ahead of these issues, especially involving recruitment, in hopes of preventing them before they happen. He cited concerns with third parties — such as the agents who allegedly offered money to suspended USC associate head coach Tony Bland in exchange for influence over athletes — as a major focus of the task force.

The task force will be comprise a wide range of people, including coaches, athletic administrators, student-athletes and members of commercial entities such as athletic agencies ,who are involved in recruitment. The conference has already named athletic directors Dan Guerrero and Chris Hill, former basketball coach Mike Montgomery, former football player Charles Davis and administrator Tom Jernstedt to the task force.

The conference also announced four areas that will be investigated by the task force — education and issues identification; best practices and Pac-12 policy recommendations; system reform recommendations; and application of learnings to recruitment in sports beyond basketball.

At the end of the first quarter of 2018, the task force will present its findings and suggestions to the conference. The conference and the NCAA will use this report to attempt to fix internal issues throughout the Pac-12.