Pac-12 creates task force to seek answers to college basketball's issues

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the wake of the FBI indictments that rocked college basketball two weeks ago, the Pac-12 announced it has formed a task force to take look at systematic problems in the sport.

"We are committed to taking the concrete action steps 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," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. "The goal of our Pac-12 Task Force is to tackle the issues that have been raised in men's college basketball and to suggest reforms that ensure that we stay ahead of potential more far-reaching issues, in particular in the area of recruitment across college sports, where in many cases the influence of third parties is growing."

Scott said the task force will have four clear mandates:

  • To educate university leadership about the issues that exist

  • To identify best practices for the conference moving forward

  • To create policy change recommendations for the NCAA

  • To better understand how third parties influence recruiting

The task force will eventually be made up of 10 members, and Scott announced the first five on Thursday: UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, Utah athletic director Chris Hill, former Cal and Stanford coach Mike Montgomery, former NFL player Charles Davis and former NCAA administrator Tom Jernstedt.

While there are no women currently on the committee, Scott said there will be when the group is finalized.

Montgomery will also serve on the NCAA Commission on College Basketball, announced Wednesday, which shares some of the same goals.

The Pac-12 task force will issue its findings in the first quarter of 2018 and before the NCAA commission presents its recommendations on legislative, policy and structural changes in April.

"We're all for the betterment of our game of basketball," USC coach Andy Enfield said. "We're all in this together. Coaches, players, universities, and anything that can be done from a conference level, from an NCAA perspective, a national level to help everybody and advance the game of college basketball, we're all for that and we encourage that."

USC assistant Tony Bland was among those arrested, and he appeared in court in New York on Wednesday. He is alleged to have facilitated payments to two USC basketball players. Enfield declined to comment on the investigation.