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Notre Dame's president responds to college basketball commission report

Rev. John I. Jenkins during Wednesday's news conference // WSBT 22 photo

A new report just released Wednesday morning could have a big impact on college hoops. In an afternoon news conference Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins said if he can contribute to making the game and situation better, it was worth his time.

Father Jenkins was part of the Commission on College Basketball that looked at cheating scandals and the "one-and-done" rule.

The commission report says the NCAA should work to end the "one and done" era and punish coaches and programs that cheat more harshly.

They are calling for sweeping changes, including possible life bans for cheating.

In response to the ban proposal, Notre Dame men's basketball head coach Mike Brey said, “If we’re going to do it, we have to be really aggressive…it has to be strong.”

The commission released a 60-page report Wednesday morning on the federal corruption investigation. That led to charges against 10 people, including some assistant coaches.

Condoleezza Rice leads the commission.

"Governance and leadership lapses, among many who were charged with protecting the best interest of student-athletes," said Rice. "These are the people who are most responsible for giving these young men a college education and a college degree. And frankly, some have given in instead to incentives to win at all costs. That behavior has too often been ignored and has been inadequately punished."

“With its recommendations today, the commission seeks to sound the death knell of the educational sham that is ‘one and done,’ restore integrity to the game and otherwise remind us that a college’s first obligation to its athletes is a good education," said Father Jenkins.

The Commission on College Basketball is sharply directing the NCAA to take control of the sport, calling for sweeping reforms to minimize one-and-done. Right now players are not allowed to enter the NBA until they are age 19. Additionally they must also be one year removed from their high school graduating class. What this does is make it a requirement for many players to play a year somewhere else, usually in the NCAA.

“It just kind of undermines and gives mockery to the very idea that these kids are coming here to get a degree, because in that case the players, the families, their coaches all know they are not,” said Jenkins. “They are just coming for a few months before they go on to the NBA. That just shouldn't be the business we’re in and we shouldn’t handcuff those kids and make them come if they don’t want to be on a college campus and pursue a degree. I just think it was symbolic there were such high-profile players. It was a way of saying ‘Look, you’re not serious about this collegiate model’ and we had to say ‘Yes we are, and let’s make the changes we need to show we’re serious about it.”

Read the full report here.

Below you will find updates with more information from the Associated Press:

4:30 p.m.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says the National Association of Basketball Coaches has scheduled a conference call for Thursday so coaches can discuss the basketball's commission's report.

Krzyzewski said in a statement Wednesday he expects there should be "more to share as an organization by the end of the week." Krzyzewski calls the recommendations "a starting point for further discussion" at all levels of basketball.

The commissioners of two power conferences also weighed in on the recommendations issued by a panel led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford says the proposals will be a significant part of upcoming spring league meetings. Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey says the recommendations won't "solve all of our challenges overnight" but calls it "an important step in a process to restore confidence in this great sport."

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3 p.m.

The NCAA Board of Governors has unanimously voted to endorse the recommendations of a panel proposing sweeping changes to college basketball to combat a corruption scandal.

That's according to Chairman Bud Peterson, the president at Georgia Tech. Peterson says the board put the process in place Wednesday for the NCAA to implement the recommendations from the Commission on College Basketball by August.

The decision comes after the board met with the panel and its leader, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice says the sport is worth saving but is deeply flawed, with changes needed in several areas.

The endorsement isn't an immediate change. It only means that the NCAA will now begin the hard work of changing rules, crafting legislation and building consensus among 351 Division I members on how best to make all this work. NCAA's Division I Council, comprised mostly of athletic directors, had already begun working on some of the areas where the commission recommended reforms.

"It's going to be a challenge to say the least," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. "This is a pace of decision making that the association's really never done on this kind of scale before."

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2 p.m.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches is expressing its support of changes proposed by the panel tasked with finding ways to clean up college hoops.

Executive director Jim Haney said Wednesday that the recommendations put forth by the commission led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice represent "a necessary step to addressing the issues our game faces in light of the Department of Justice investigation."

Haney says the NABC knew impactful change was coming and is committed to working with the NCAA to turn the recommendations into new guidelines for the sport.

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11:10 a.m.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are offering no guarantees about changing the league's draft eligibility rules despite calls from a key NCAA panel to let players go pro sooner.

In a joint statement Wednesday, the league and union vowed only to "continue to assess" the draft rules "in order to promote the best interests of players and the game."

A panel led by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls on the NBA and NPBA to lower the draft age back to 18 years old. The current rule, enacted in 2005, requires U.S. players to be 19 and a year removed from high school, sending many top players to college for one year.

The commission believes the so-called "one-and-done" era has contributed to college basketball's problems and wants the draft age lowered in 2018.

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10:30 a.m.

NCAA President Mark Emmert hopes legislation to implement some recommendations made by the Commission on College Basketball can be voted on in August.

Others may take a while longer to debate.

Emmert weighed in Wednesday soon after former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a sweeping package of recommendations to clean up college basketball and the role apparel companies play in the sport.

But the NCAA will need help from businesses, the NBA and the NBA Players Association, and Emmert believes they will play a role.

Emmert says the NCAA has had conversations with the league and players union about the issues. He says they have their own business models and interests but understand where the NCAA is coming from.

He says: "I'm confident that they're going to be very supportive of that and will be good partners with us and we want to work with them. Even rules, like changing and how we can manage timing of issues around the draft."

Giving athletes more money to play in college, though, appears to be off the table.

Instead, the commission called on the NCAA to help those more interested in playing professional basketball to find a path for them to achieve their goal.

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9:25 a.m.

The commission tasked with making changes to college basketball passed on dealing with the key issue of college athletes receiving payments for use of their names, images and likenesses.

That's because the issue is still tied up in the courts. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that the commission doesn't believe that the NCAA can legislate in this area until the legal parameters are more clear.

But she says most of the panel belives the NCAA should take up the issue.

She says it's hard to understand what's allowed. She says: "For the life of me I don't understand the difference between Olympic payments and participation in 'Dancing with the Stars' - and what can't be allowed without opening the door to professionalizing college basketball."

Notre Dame women's basketball star Arike Ogunbowale plans to compete on "Dancing with the Stars."

Rice says she hopes Ogunbowale wins and that there's more room for athletes to have similar opportunities in college sports.

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8:25 a.m.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells NCAA leaders that the crisis in college basketball is "first and foremost a problem of failed accountability and lax responsibility."

Rice was speaking Wednesday to NCAA officials in Indianapolis to present the recommendations from the Commission on College Basketball. The panel she led has been charged with finding ways to fix a sport reeling from a fraud and bribery scandal.

Rice and the commission is recommending sweeping changes to NBA draft rules, NCAA enforcement and summer basketball. She says the commission wants to keep the "college" in college basketball.

Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins was part of the Rice commission. He says the commission wants "to sound the death knell of the educational sham that is 'one-and-done.'" The one-and-done rule refers to players being eligible for the draft at 19 years old, prompting many talented players to play one year of college when they'd rather go pro right away.

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7:45 a.m.

A panel tasked with reforming college basketball says the NCAA should work to end the one-and-done era and punish coaches and programs that cheat more harshly.

The Commission on College Basketball led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is calling for sweeping reforms that include banning cheating coaches for life and certifying agents who deal with players.

The independent commission released a detailed 60-page report Wednesday, seven months after the NCAA formed the group to respond to a federal corruption investigation that rocked college basketball.

Ten people, including some assistant coaches, have been charged in a bribery and kickback scheme, and high-profile programs such as Arizona, Louisville and Kansas have been tied to possible NCAA violations.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the report ahead of Rice presenting its findings to top NCAA officials.

The commission offered harsh assessments of NCAA enforcement. It says the environment surrounding college basketball encourages people to cheat.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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