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College Basketball Recruiting Keeps Getting Creepier

Following up on the stupid argument that agent-types are good for college basketball, the New York Times comes out with an article today on how summer basketball tournaments are selling coaches lists of players – for $250 a pop and up. And you thought the game programs for college games took a bite out of your wallet.

Of course, the tournament organizers have learned something from the NCAA. When profiting madly, claim it's all about breaking even:

Antonio Curro, the tournament director, defended his prices, saying that he provided food for the tournament coaches and that he needed to feed his family. Curro also cited the costs of gym rental, employees and referees. He said that three coaches sneaked into the gym to avoid paying the $250 and that he made them purchase the packet because bootlegs were so prevalent.

Coaches are beginning to grumble, however, primarily at the smaller schools, where such expenses can be a significant chunk of the recruiting budget. And for it's worth, UNC was singled out as one of three schools that "rarely need expensive packets" as they only recruit a dozen or so players a year, and already know what they look like. I can't decide which quote in the piece is my favorite, though. It's either the NCAA's carefully couched tepid lawyer response:

"Everything we did was legitimate by the N.C.A.A.," [Curro] said. "There is no rule for anyone setting the price."

The N.C.A.A. spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said, "It is misleading for event organizers to state that the N.C.A.A. allows them to charge elevated prices."

or the great service the coaches are getting:

While the packets usually cost hundreds of dollars, they rarely have pertinent information, like players’ jersey numbers.

"I refuse to pay $250 for a blank piece of paper," the Louisville assistant Steve Masiello said.