Tricia Rogers will make a great addition to our SCC School Board. She will bring a fresh perspective. Kay’s voice has been making a difference for over 20 years. She has been the voice of a strong woman, farmer, landowner, taxpayer, business owner, SCC graduate, loving parent, now proud grandparent and someone who is always committed to what is best for kids. Her voice will be missed on the board. I hope she finds a way to stay engaged and make sure her perspective is heard.

Kay and I had a moment in time when we didn’t see eye-to-eye on some matters but I never for a moment doubted her commitment to kids. It has truly been my honor and privilege to have served on the St. Croix Central Board of Education with Kay Zwald for these many years. So many things have been accomplished during her tenure. Quite a legacy, one she and all of us should be very proud of.

Kay, thanks for all you do and have done for our schools, our kids and our community. You are one of the special ones who has always been willing to stand up and be counted. You have made a huge difference. When you tossed your pebble in the pond, it made huge waves. THANKS.

Jeff Redmon

Clerk and Member

St. Croix Central Board of Education

News article comment

TO THE EDITOR

I have recently begun reading your newspaper and have enjoyed the local articles and news coverage. However, I must comment on an article, “New Richmond man sentenced in unusual sex crime case”, date Thursday, April 5, 2018. There are a couple of references to inappropriate behavior (first described in paragraph # 4) that I would not want anyone in my family to read. If someone really desires to know the specific details of crimes committed by this guy, they can contact the county courthouse and get those details. I think you could have worded the article differently and conveyed to your audience that this guy did some pretty bad things while maintaining an article that is rated for all audiences.

Robert Bachtell

Town of Warren

40,000 not mentioned

TO THE EDITOR

I’ve just read as statistic that claims that 40,000 young people die each year from drug overdoses and the number is rising. I must have missed the incessant reports on the evening news and I’m waiting with baited breath for the student walkout in protest over a death toll that, were it the result of the conflict in the Middle East, would inspire demonstrations and riots nationwide. How is it that a death toll exponentially larger than that of the school shooting in Florida seems to evade even a casual mention on the evening news?

Could it be that those who brought us the widely publicized nationwide student walkout aren’t really as interested in the deaths of our young people as they are in their political agenda against constitutionally guaranteed gun ownership in America? A little digging into those who used our children in their quest to disarm America turned up an interesting cast of characters.

A group that sponsored and organized the women’s anti-Trump demonstration in Washington, D.C. we’re told was the primary sponsor and organizer of the student walkout. Linda Sarsour, a Muslim activist who advocates Sharia law for America, took second billing with Planned Parenthood third on the list. Amazing that an organization responsible for the death of thousands of unborn each year would be concerned about a few of those who slipped through their clutches.

George Soros and Michael Bloomberg are credited with funding the walkout effort. Soros is credited with funding those black masked “demonstrators ” that have become a fixture at any pro-American, pro-Trump rally. Bloomberg in his great wisdom wants to dictate to the residents of New York how many ounces of soda they can purchase at a time and wants to outlaw trans-fats and has been on a crusade to convince America’s mayors to outlaw, you guessed it: guns. Bloomberg knows what’s best for you deplorables. And isn’t Soros a foreigner?

Most interesting is the communist Chinese government’s interest in gun control here in America. While the media is obsessed with foreign interference in our election process, a foreign power with an adversarial relationship with America that is duping our young people into a nationwide walkout isn’t worth a mention. Speaking of communists, the list wouldn’t be complete without the communist party USA.

I don’t know how Muir, Blitzer and Holt missed these tidbits of information on who used America’s children.

Jim Schroeder

New Richmond

BC-BKC–College Corruption-AAU,496

Commission calls for more NCAA oversight of AAU events

AP Photo NY306

Eds: With AP Photos.

A college basketball commission is recommending the NCAA run its own summer recruiting events and require non-scholastic events to be certified. The 60-page report also proposes more financial transparency and an educational element. It also says the NCAA should ban its coaches from attending any unsanctioned events.

By JOHN MARSHALL

AP Basketball Writer

Every July, Las Vegas becomes the epicenter of elite youth basketball. Hundreds of top-level AAU teams descend upon Sin City during the summer evaluation windows for college coaches, playing games at dozens of sites across the city.

The Commission on College Basketball would like the NCAA to control some of the chaos.

In its 60-page report released Wednesday, the commission proposed the NCAA run its own summer recruiting events for prospects and take a more stringent approach to certifying what it called non-scholastic basketball events.

The independent commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, recommended the NCAA require more financial transparency by event operators, including benefits provided to participants and their families along with the source of the provisions. The commission also proposed requiring non-scholastic events to have an educational component and that the NCAA ban coaches from attending unsanctioned events — a move that would take away a key draw for recruits who play specifically to be seen.

The proposed measures are designed to address corruption issues following a federal investigation alleging hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to influence recruits’ choices of schools, agents and financial advisers. Ten people were arrested in September, including four assistant coaches, in the investigation based in New York.

“Currently, non-scholastic basketball is an ungoverned space with coaches, players and their families, agents and sponsors exchanging money and goods in the hope of future benefits and without accountability,” the commission’s report said. “Of particular importance to the Commission are the cases in which non-scholastic basketball event operators and coaches seek benefits from colleges and college coaches in exchange for influencing their players’ college choices.”

WHY IT COULD WORK: The certification process would allow the NCAA to keep a closer eye on the operations of AAU teams and coaches, who often hold more sway with players than high school coaches. Right now, the NCAA has no real way to know where the AAU teams get their money and how it’s spent. The risk of being decertified could curb some backroom deals involving recruits. The commission also recommended the NCAA partner with USA Basketball and the NBA to create new resources and programs for youth basketball development, which could help prevent corruption.

WHY IT WOULDN’T WORK: The AAU teams may not want to disclose their finances to the NCAA or be forced to add an educational element to their programs. They’ve operated autonomously for years and likely won’t want to change, could which present problems for the NCAA in gaining widespread compliance.

WHY IT’S KEY TO THE SCANDAL: Most of the top-level AAU teams have strong ties to apparel companies, creating an easier path for anyone wanting to funnel money to influence recruits. According to the FBI investigation, some shady deals with recruits happened in Las Vegas during the evaluation periods, so having more oversight on the AAU teams and the events might prevent more corruption.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP—Top25

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By Matt Norlander

(CBS Sports)- If college basketball is seeking change, it may need help from those outside the NCAA including the NBA and shoe companies.

The Commission on College Basketball released a six-months-in-the-making 60-page report Wednesday that analyzed the state of the sport and made its most urgent proposals for change. The commission, led by Condoleezza Rice, is comprised of 12 people including NBA legends David Robinson and Grant Hill and was formed by the NCAA in response to the FBI’s investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball.

From the report:

“It is the overwhelming assessment of the commission that the state of men’s college basketball is deeply troubled. The levels of corruption and deception are now at a point that they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it.”

Rice, who is a former Secretary of State and was once a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, spoke in Indianapolis on Wednesday morning in front of assembled media and dozens of NCAA and collegiate athletic representatives.

“Whatever the outcome of the legal process, radical changes are long overdue,” the report reads.

NCAA President Mark Emmert catalyzed this commission last October, shortly after the FBI’s unheard of investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting went public.

While many wondered if the commission would opt to recommend that college players be allowed to earn money off their likeness while still in college, that is not concern of the commission at this point. Such action was not recommended, as Rice cited ongoing legal matters pertaining to the amateurism model. The other looming curiosity: Would the commission deem it appropriate, particularly in the wake of the FBI scandal, to allow players to begin professional relationships with agents? That, in fact, is on the table.

Here’s what the Commission is recommending:

1. End one-and-done rule

This is, of course, an NBA rule. The commission is calling on the NBA and its Players’ Association to end a rule that has been in place for 12 years. Since 2006, the NBA has mandated that eligibility for its draft, and to play in the league, come with prerequisites: Players either be 19 years old or a year removed from finishing high school.

The commission’s belief is that it’s only just to allow the most talented basketball players to be able to declare for the NBA right away. Rice said Wednesday morning that if the NBA/NBAPA opts not to change its rule to allow high schoolers to go pro, freshmen ineligibility will be among the things the commission considers putting forth to the NBA.

Rice also said the commission “seriously considered” the option of the so-called baseball rule, citing that it would potentially keep players who develop into NBA-ready prospects “in school against their will.”

2. Allow undrafted underclassmen return to school

The commission put a heavy emphasis on the collegiate model and the lifelong benefits of earning a college degree.

“Our focus has been to strengthen the collegiate model,” Rice said Monday morning at the Commission’s press conference.

Because of this, it suggests that if players who declare for the draft don’t get drafted, those players should remain eligible to return to college basketball if they don’t still opt to immediately pursue a career in the NBA. This suggestion also requires rule adjustments from the NBA and its Players Association, as rules currently allow for undrafted players to become free agents and allow them to join playing in the league at any point afterward.

3. Agents should be allowed

It is currently against NCAA rules for college prospects and college players to establish formal relationships with agents. If the NCAA listens to the commission’s suggestion, that will no longer be the case. But this change will also require the NCAA and NBA working hand-in-hand, as the NBA is the entity that certifies agents. According to Rice and the rest of the members of the commission, the NCAA would be better suited by getting into the certification business as well.

“We recommend that the NCAA and its member institutions develop strict standards for certifying agents and allow only those NCAA-certified agents to engage with student-athletes at an appropriate point in their high school careers as determined by the NCAA,” Rice said Wednesday. “The NCAA should appoint a vice president-level executive who, among other responsibilities, would develop these standards and administer this program. We further recommend that the NCAA incentivize better behavior from agents by decertifying any agent who participates in an NCAA rules violation and also deeming any student-athlete who enters into an agreement with a non-certified agent ineligible.”

4. Significantly increase enforcement penalties

In order to bring more seriousness, and fear, to those breaking the rules, the commission suggested an increased level of punishment for violators. They are:

1. Increase the competition penalties for Level I violations to allow a five-year postseason ban.
2. Increase the financial penalties for Level I violations to allow loss of all revenue sharing in postseason play, including revenue from the NCAA Tournament.
3. Increase the penalties for a show-cause order to allow bans of more than one season
4. Increase the restrictions on head coaches to allow bans of more than one season
5. Increase the penalties for recruiting visit violations to allow full-year visit bans

Some of this echoes sentiment made by coaches who spoke to CBS Sports last season.

Rice also said, “The NCAA should create independent investigative and adjudicative arms to address and resolve complex and serious cases involving violation of NCAA rules.”

This would mean something significant: It would removed the philosophical ideal of the peer-review model, which is how the NCAA has handled infractions cases for decades.

5. Overhaul the summer-league/so-called AAU enterprise

As things stand now, the majority of spring and summer non-scholastic basketball events (commonly referred to as AAU tournaments) are run by the three major shoe companies: Nike, Under Armour and Adidas. The commission believes, in order to clean up recruiting, the NCAA, the NBA and USA Basketball should be ambitious in starting its own spring and summer circuits.

Relatedly, Rice called out the big apparel companies’ complicitness in this issue.

“The commission today calls on the apparel companies to significantly increase their transparency and accountability efforts,” Rice said. “These are public companies. It appears to us, however, that apparel companies may not have effective controls in place for their spending in non-scholastic basketball. These public companies should be concerned about how their money is being used. I have served on quite a few public boards, and I can tell you, this should be an area of concern.”

Now we wait what the NCAA does in response to this. Emmert has publicly stated that he wants change voted into action before the start of the fall semester. It is the commission’s recommendation that these changes be implemented as soon as possible as well. But the Board of Governors still must review these proposals, and NCAA membership must clear each item before any changes come to the NCAA’s rulebook.