Ohio State men's basketball | Chris Holtmann reacts to new NCAA rules, Title IX clauses and the NET

Adam Jardy
Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann speaks to the media during media day at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on September 28, 2017. [Kyle Robertson]

For the first time since the Ohio State men’s basketball team departed for a 12-day trip to Spain, coach Chris Holtmann sat down with reporters Wednesday to discuss the trip.

That also meant it was the first time Holtmann had spoken publicly since the NCAA unveiled new measures to respond to an ongoing FBI investigation attempting to clean up the sport, a clause in Holtmann’s contract regarding Title IX responsibilities was revealed to be the same as is in football coach Urban Meyer’s contract and since the NCAA announced it was dumping the RPI in favor of a new tournament seeding metric dubbed the NET.

All of these points have received their fair share of exposure. Holtmann’s thoughts on them, however, have not. Here’s what he had to say on each topic:

NCAA ‘intent was good’ in rule changes

On August 8, the NCAA announced a number of initiatives in response to recommendations made by the Commission on College Basketball. Key bullet points included allowing players who declare for the NBA draft and are invited to the combine but go undrafted return to school, allowing designated “elite” players to receive limited agent representation and changes to the recruiting calendar designed to lessen the impact of shoe companies on the grassroots game.

Each point has been extensively debated, and while Holtmann said more work is needed there were some worthwhile parts to the changes.

“I think the intent was good,” he said. “There are some changes in there that I think will directly help our game in a positive way for sure that were probably long overdue, but I also think that much more work needs to be done. I’m not sure I would say that I think every change is something I would’ve been in favor of.”

Asked what positives he sees, Holtmann pointed to the provision for undrafted players being allowed to return to college and maintain their eligibility.

“I think that’s a sensible, smart, good rule that will help that was probably long overdue,” he said. “I think some of the interactions with agents, as long as it’s monitored, is not a bad thing, in terms of guys getting good feedback.”

He also supported the addition of more allowable official visits starting as soon as a player’s junior year in high school.

“I understand I think the intent was because they believed probably there were unofficial visits taking place that were somehow not on the up-and up, so they wanted to increase those numbers,” Holtmann said. “I think there’s some good rationale in that.”

Holtmann aware of Title IX language in contract

As first reported in The Dispatch, Holtmann’s contract contains paragraph 4.0 (e), which reads as follows:

“Coach shall promptly report to Ohio State’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics any known violations of Ohio State’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate violence and stalking) that involve any student, faculty, or staff or that is in connection with a university sponsored activity or event. If Ohio State’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics is not available, then Coach shall make such report promptly to Ohio State’s Title IX Coordinator. Any emergency situation should be immediately reported to 911 and/or law enforcement. For purposes of this Section 4.1(e), a “known violation” shall mean a violation or an allegation of a violation of Title IX that Coach is aware of or has reasonable cause to believe is taking place or may have taken place.”

It’s the same clause in Meyer’s contract. Holtmann said the ongoing situation involving the football program as well as his own contract have served as further reminders of how he should handle situations involving accusations of sexual abuse.

“We’ve been in Spain, I’ve been coaching a team so I have not been following the investigation, did not follow it super closely and wouldn’t want to comment specifically on anything just because I wasn’t here and wasn’t asked anything regarding that,” he said. “But I do think in light of all this, it certainly makes you, in my position, review some of that and review it with our staff, review all the protocol and procedures with our staff and make sure that we have a great understanding of all the expectations.”

RIP, RPI. Hello, NET

The NCAA has formally cut ties with the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), which was used to help evaluate and seed teams for the NCAA Tournament. In its place is a new metric known as the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET), which will use multiple factors including offensive and defensive efficiency to rate teams. The quadrant system, introduced last season, will remain.

Holtmann that while he likes the move, he has a few questions about the new system.

“I just don’t know how much different it’s going to be from the RPI, how much different it is from some of the other measurements, Sagarin, KenPom, KPI, the stuff that’s out there,” he said. “We had this issue with RPI for a number of years and then we go to this quadrant system last year and it’s all predicated on where your RPI is ranked. That puts even more weight on the RPI. Last year, there was even more emphasis, really, on the RPI. I think the NCAA did the right thing. I’m just curious what all it’s going to look like and I’m really curious to say, comparatively, where would we have been in this NET relative to last year’s RPI? I’m really curious on that.”


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