Pitt coach Jamie Dixon suggests different routes to NBA draft

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AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Since taking over for David Stern in February, one of NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s main initiatives has been trying to get the league to raise the age limit for its draft.

Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon said at the ACC spring meetings Wednesday that, while he agrees some reform likely is needed, he isn’t optimistic that it will come any time soon.

“The players’ association, that’s their bargaining chip, and they’re using it,” he said.

“Until they get something that they want, mainly a bigger chunk of revenue, I think they’re just trying to hold on to it because they know it’s something the owners and the league wants.”

Even if change comes, Dixon said he didn’t necessarily think simply raising the age limit would be the right move.

He is an advocate for a system similar to the one used for Major League Baseball’s draft, where players can go pro out of high school, but, if they elect to go to college instead, they aren’t eligible to be drafted again until after their junior year.

It might have to be tweaked for basketball, Dixon said, perhaps by changing the second eligibility window to after the prospect’s sophomore year, but he thought that was the best possible solution.

“I think one year [limit] brings some challenges to it that is not good for college,” Dixon said. “But, at the same time, I think kids should have the opportunity, so maybe going after high school. LeBron James should be able to go and make that. I’d like something that’s like baseball.”

Women’s teams eye boost

For the women’s basketball coaches meeting this week, the main topic of discussion was how to improve marketing and exposure for the league and sport.

The ACC was one of the most successful women’s basketball conferences on the court this past season — with two teams in the Final Four and five in the final USA Today Top 25 — and the league is working to turn that into off-the-court prosperity.

One of the main goals, according to North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow, is to make sure every game is on some sort of ESPN platform, either TV or online, next season.

“[We talked about] doing television commercials, doing a lot of things to promote our league,” Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “Basically, a strike-while-you’re-hot type of thing.”

Targeting target rule

In their officiating and rules meetings, the football coaches discussed the first year of implementation of the NCAA’s new targeting penalty, which took effect in 2013.

Pitt coach Paul Chryst said the main takeaway was that the amount of calls actually went down as the season progressed.

While there isn’t anything as controversial joining the rule book this year, there will be a 15-yard penalty for targeting the legs of a quarterback by a player on the ground, with the goal being to avoid significant ACL injuries to quarterbacks.

“You just need clarification,” Chryst said.

“You could still be down on the ground and wrap-tackle him, so it’s more just how do you officiate it?”


Sam Werner: swerner@post-gazette.com and Twitter @SWernerPG.

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