Billy D says basketball coaches don’t try to flip commitments


Urban Meyer took some heat this when the former Florida turned Ohio State coach was accused by fellow Big Ten coaches of breaking a gentlemen’s agreement.

Fellow Big Ten coaches were irked that Meyer went after and signed players that were previously committed to Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Florida coach Billy Donovan said that the same gentlemen’s agreement exists in the college basketball coaching fraternity.

“I have the right to recruit,” Donovan said Friday. “But I think it’s kind of an unwritten or unspoken law in basketball that once a guy is committed, that’s it.”

Donovan pointed out former Gator center Al Horford as an example. Horford had committed early to Michigan. But Donovan said he would not pick up the phone to talk to Horford until Horford announced his de-commitment. Horford re-opened his recruitment in September of 2003 and signed with Florida in November of 2003.

“I’m not going to pick up the phone and talk to a kid that’s already committed somewhere and tell him why he shouldn’t go there and he’s making a mistake there,” Donovan said.

Donovan had a reputation of testing the margins of recruiting rules early in his Florida career, but accusations by Eddie Fogler, Roy Williams and Mike Montgomery were unsubstantiated. When Williams called in Donovan for cheating following Mike Miller’s recruitment, the NCAA only discovered secondary violations. Montgomery sent Florida a letter of apology in 2003 after accusing Donovan of cheating but having no proof to back up his claims.

On the other end of the spectrum, Donovan lost a high-profile commitment when 2012 point guard Austin Rivers re-opened his recruitment. Rivers had committed to UF following his freshman year of high school. The top point guard prospect and son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers signed with Duke.

“I think every kid has got that priority,” Donovan said. “I don’t know if other schools were tampering with Austin or talking to him. I have no idea.

“It’s just one of those things were I don’t do that. I would say that most college basketball coaches don’t do that once a guy is committed. I would say across the board, that’s generally the consensus.”

Donovan said he realizes that football is different after talking with former and current Florida coaches.

“In basketball, it’s just a different mindset,” he said.

Is Donovan naive to think tampering and negative recruiting doesn’t exist with players that already are committed to other schools? What are your thoughts?













  1. Until the student athlete has signed on the dotted line, all is fair in love and war!!

    The student athlete must make a very difficult decision and typically has everyone from family, to friends, to his or her high school coaches, to college recruiters, and even fans of the schools competing for this services trying to get him or her to the school of their choice but none of them have to live with this decision as much as the student athlete. So if he or she is still listening and evaluating is choices whether committed or not the bottom line is the final decision is not official until the letter of Intent is signed, sealed , and delivered to the school of his/her choice. This is not much different than free agency at the professiona sports level expect coaches have less info on predicting the athlete’s potential success at the next level.

  2. A couple of thoughts: 1) Those who have actually been to war, been shot at in anger, find it amusing when a game played with a ball is compared to WAR. It is not. 2) Coaches in the Big Ten will soon be learning much about UM. He is, in addition to being a quiter, a person who cannot be trusted or believed.

  3. Talk is cheap, time is precious. If you have made a commitment, the point seems that life is simplified with that decision. I wouldn’t want to maintain the stress of decision making after I have made a decision, but I guess some kids, and they are just kids, like the attention and the validation of their talent by continuing the process after having chosen a school. Coaches who feed off of that are in a sense predatorial, preying on the whims of teens.

    On a side note, Gatorsports has a list of our games played and the upcoming ones, but why aren’t the SEC standings posted, especially now that the East and West divisions have gone South, the standings and win-loss records woudl be appreciated by many.

  4. EMK, lighten up. It’s a flipping adage, a literary device, and I’d doubt Jax was really comparing war to basketball.

    Wow. Had no idea that Billy D wouldn’t consider recruitment of an unsigned only-verbally committed player. Maybe that helps explain why we can’t seem to get more inside help for Young and Yeguete. There’s rational reasons to criticize Meyer and irrational reasons, but I think MSU, Wisconsin and other coaches who criticized Meyer for breaking the “gentleman’s agreement” came off sounding insincere and naive.