INDIANAPOLIS — College recruits could face curfews, limits on off-campus activities and fewer paid visits next fall, if recruiting changes are approved by the NCAA next month.
An NCAA task force on recruiting debated all three changes Monday in its first face-to-face meeting in Indianapolis. A formal proposal is expected to be submitted to the NCAA's management council by April 20.
"We discussed all those kinds of things," said David Berst, the task force's chairman. "We're trying to come up with a principal-based approach."
Berst declined to discuss which specific changes may be in the task force's draft proposal, which he expects to complete within 10 days.
Berst, an NCAA vice president and former head of enforcement, said there was unanimity among the task force's 18 members that changes were needed in the wake of several highly publicized recruiting scandals.
In the most prominent case, three women are suing Colorado University after claiming they were raped during or just after a December 2001 off-campus party for football players and recruits.
At Miami, Willie Williams, the team's top recruit this year, has been arrested 11 times since 1999 — a record school officials said they were unaware of when he signed a national letter of intent. Hurricanes coach Larry Coker said he was partly aware of Williams' criminal past. The school has suspended the processing of Williams' admissions application leaving his future with the Hurricanes clouded.
Those cases prompted NCAA President Myles Brand to form the task force in February, hoping new recruiting rules could be in place before next fall. Brand attended the first part of Monday's meeting to explain his thoughts about what Berst described as appropriate approaches.
Brand has called the actions in some cases "morally reprehensible."
Berst said he believes the task force will meet Brand's timetable by submitting a formal proposal next month.
"I think we can get it done," he said. "It will not be without some effort and some extreme effort."
Berst also acknowledged that Monday's wide-ranging discussion included the possibility of eliminating paid visits entirely although it was unclear if that would be among the proposed changes.
If paid visits were eliminated, Berst said, there was concern it could hurt opportunities for athletes with families who could not afford to pay for trips.
"That's something that has been said by those thinking it's not a good idea," he said.
Among other possible changes are shortening campus visits from 48 hours to 24 hours, reducing from five to three or four the number of visits a student can take and capping university spending on travel, meals and lodging.
"I think there is broad-based support to do something," Berst said. "The question is what principles and what environment are we attempting to create and what's the best mechanism to move in that direction."
Typically, NCAA rules changes can take months or years.
Brand, however, has asked that the recruiting proposal be put on the fast track.