After last September’s NCAA-altering federal investigation, the powers that be inside the NCAA did what the powers that be often do and created a commission to oversee some rule changes to make college basketball, for a lack of a better word, better. That commission put together and presented their suggestions to the NCAA’s Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors and, wouldn’t you know it, they are going to implement some of them.
Better late than never?
In a joint statement from NCAA Leaders, the changes will “promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor.”
I’ve never been more happy than when I read “prioritize the interests of student (HYPHEN) athletes over every other factor” only to then read some of the rules that will be taking place and realize it’s probably just business as usual.
What are some of those changes? Here are some of the highlights.
- Effective August 15, 2108, student-athletes can now take more official visits, including five visits from August 1 to the end of their junior year of high school and five visits between the end of their junior year to October 15 after high school graduation. They can also make five visits after graduation and the remainder of their college eligibility.
- Agent representation for both high school and college basketball players:
NCAA basketball says it will now allow "elite" high school and college prospects to be represented by an agent. NCAA will also permit players to return to school if unselected in NBA draft.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 8, 2018
NCAA says an "elite" prospect, as identified by USA Basketball, can hire agent beginning July 1 before their senior year in high school -- if/when the NBA and NCAA allow high schoolers to enter draft. College players are eligible after each season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 8, 2018
- Effective immediately, a college basketball player can seek and obtain agent representation if they request an Undergraduate Advisory Committee evaluation from the NBA. Or, in layman's terms, are NBA Draft Combine invitees.
- Pending a change in Uniform Athlete Agents Act and other state laws change, agents will be allowed to “pay for meals and transportation for players and their families if the expenses are related to the agent selection process. Also, the student cannot miss class, and the money must be spent where the student lives or attends school. Additionally, high school and college student-athletes and their families can have meals, transportation and lodging paid for by an agent if those expenses are associated with meetings with the agent or a pro team.”
- If a player goes through the above process and is NOT drafted they can now come back to the program. That is, once the NBA changes a rule that would deem these types of player ineligible for the draft a year later. Now, the student athlete has until 5 p.m. the Monday following the NBA Draft to notify their university’s Athletic Director of their intent to return back to school.
There is a whole lot more to unpack here and even more changes that need to be looked over clearly (including an entire section that will be put in place to “minimize harmful outside influences”). There will be a lot of questions of course.
We all have them.
Like, what if a player and his agent are gathering interest in NBA Summer League opportunities and are heavily weighing them with that “Monday at 5 p.m.” deadline looming. Will they choose to actually come back to school or skip it completely to take on more meetings? Is this just a reaction to the investigation? Did they do enough to completely eliminate the wide sweeping issues in college basketball? Does it really matter that players can now have agents? Why can’t all players have an agent and be eligible to come back to school, even if they aren’t invited to the NBA Draft Combine? Why does USA Basketball get to decide what “elite” is?
Just to name a few.
I suppose we will soon see. Just don’t kill the messenger on your way to figuring it out.