Rumors of illegal recruiting often abound whenever a college lands a prize football or basketball performer.
So it should come as no surprise a rumor began circulating last Wednesday the day Cal-Berkeley received a commitment from Jason Kidd, the No.1 prep basketball guard in the country.
One West coast source says Arizona State is irate at Cal's basketball coaching staff, not only for the corraling of Kidd, but also Houston freshman Alfred Grigsby, a 6-8 forward, ranked in Bob Gibbons' Top Ten last year.
At first glance, the Kidd commitment does appear a bit suspicious.
After all, the 6-4 Alameda native canceled trips to ASU, Arizona, KU, Kentucky and Ohio State and committed to a school he had not considered the past couple years.
ADDRESSING THE rumors, Kidd's father, Steve, says none of the schools including Cal offered illegal inducements.
``All the schools were real good,'' Steve Kidd told the San Francisco Chronicle.
It's unlikely Cal skirted the rules in the Kidd case. He's merely an 18-year-old kid (pardon the pun) who decided to stay home so his parents could watch him play.
Coaches will tell you proximity to home often is THE most important factor in recruiting.
An Alameda source says Kidd sincerely wants to rejuvenate California basketball. It's been a while since the Pac-10 minus Arizona and UCLA has been competitive nationally.
KU coach Roy Williams expressed no bitterness toward Cal when I talked to him the other day. He said he respected Kidd's decision and wished him well.
WILLIAMS DID say that, in theory, he would turn in a school if he felt it violated NCAA rules.
"We've turned in two schools since I've been here," said Williams, not divulging names. "I think recruiting is cleaner than it was several years ago. We continue to stay on top of it. If a program gains an illegal advantage, they should be subject to stiff penalties."
Three of the country's top players Kidd, Corliss Williamson and Richard Keene players who had the Jayhawks in their final five have committed to other schools.
Why? Here's one theory.
Considering all the negative recruiting that goes on, it's tough for a school to put together back-to-back Top Five recruiting years. That's because rival recruiters use the "playing time" argument ad nauseum.
Case in point: shooting guard Keene of Collinsville, Ill., has narrowed his list of schools to Duke, North Carolina and Illinois. He'll probably pick Illinois, not only because its close to home, but because he believes he can step in and play.
His girl friend goes to Illinois; his best friend plays for Duke's soccer team.
YOU CAN BET rival recruiters have told Keene it would be unwise to sign with KU and compete against shooting guards Sean Pearson, Greg Gurley, Patrick Richey and Steve Woodberry.
In reality, it's obvious Keene, if he comes here, would play a lot under Williams, who likes to use 10 or 11 players a game.
Last year's class Calvin Rayford, Pearson, Gurley, Greg Ostertag, Eric Pauley and Ben Davis is an imposing one rated by Gibbons as No.1 in the U.S. It's a class that almost certainly will scare some players away.
Those who believe in Williams and his system will eventually sign. The coach will, it says here, sign four outstanding players.
Yet they probably won't be ranked in anybody's top five like last year when KU inked the top guard in the country (Rayford), arguably the top forward (Davis) and certainly the top center (Ostertag).