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Basketball Coaches Get on Same Page

After recent scandals, an NABC meeting in Chicago is designed for better relations with the NCAA. Bibby calls communication the key.

October 16, 2003|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

The mandatory meeting that the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches held for its Division I coaches in Chicago on Wednesday -- three days before the official start of practice -- was more about accountability and better relations with the NCAA than image and tickets, those who attended the summit said.

In fact, USC Coach Henry Bibby said that the possibility of having his set of Final Four tickets withheld -- the threatened penalty if a coach skipped the gathering -- was amusing.

"That wasn't really the issue, and everyone kind of laughed about that," he said. "That was kind of the joke of the whole meeting. I think every coach wanted to be there; every coach was happy to be there.

"The whole thing was togetherness, being more on the same page, communicating with the coaches and trying to get everything we've been doing right."

The NABC called the meeting in early September in response to an embarrassing wave of scandal that washed over the sport in the past year with incidents ranging from academic fraud to improper benefits to murder at such institutions of higher learning as Georgia, Michigan and Baylor.

NCAA President Myles Brand attended, joining more than 300 coaches, and said an "enhanced level of understanding" between the sport's governing body and coaches emerged.

And although many of the coaches already have a code of ethics in place, they all agreed to distribute such policy to their staff and student-athletes and to forward it to the NABC within three weeks.

The NABC will also work with the NCAA to develop a "lack of coach control" infraction and will review and provide stiffer recommendations for secondary violations. It also authorized its ethics committee to "institute a plan to formally respond to unacceptable behavior, including penalties, which could include suspending membership rights."

A five-session professional development program for all Division I assistants at the Final Four convention in San Antonio was also mandated.

Said Bibby: "It was about ... everyone being on the same page, working toward the same goal and cause, and that's to make our universities better. I think it was very important for us all to be there."

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