In an effort to clean up college basketball, the NCAA has adopted sweeping reforms that will allow college basketball players more freedom in their pursuit of a professional career. The new rules will also add longer postseason bans, longer suspension, and increased recruiting restrictions for those schools that do indeed break the new rules. Here’s a look at the new changes.
Undrafted Players Can Return to School In years’ past, players could submit documentation and enter the NBA draft. If they failed to withdraw within 10 days of the NBA Combine, they lost their eligibility whether they were selected in the draft or not. Now, players can go through the entire draft process and if their name is not called on draft night, they may return to school.
Agent Certification High school prospects (and college players) will be permitted to sign with agents as long as the agent is certified by the NCAA. Players will be able to accept money from agents for what are termed “minor” expenses tied to a prospect’s pro basketball ambitions. What the certification process is at the moment is unknown as well as the process for determining which players are allowed to sign with agents and which are not.
Scholarships for Returning Players All Division I basketball players who return to school will be provided with a full scholarship – tuition, fees, books, etc. – as long as they return within 10 years of when they left school and as long as they have at least two years toward a degree. This is nothing new as several universities already provide this service. The NCAA will also provide a fund for those schools that may not be able to cover the costs of scholarships for returning players.
Official Visits Prospects will now be permitted to take 15 official visits to college campuses. Official visits are paid for by the host school. The previous limit was five official visits and even at five many prospects took unnecessary visits to schools that they had no intention of attending. Schools will now be able to provide up to 28 official visits over a two-year period. This will allow prospects more freedom in the college selection, but will it make a difference in the corruption of college basketball?
Enforcement What the NCAA lacked in the investigation that took place last year was the power to subpoena. The NCAA is college athletics’ legislative body, but it is not part of any court system. It still does not have subpoena power, but what it will have is the ability to accept information from other administrative bodies, including the courts, government agencies, accrediting bodies, or any commission authorized by a specific institution. Any school attached to the investigation that started last year should be shaking in its boots. The NCAA can now accept information from the FBI related to the scandal.
Recruiting Calendar Changes There will now be a number of recruiting events open in June. This will be a new opportunity for prospects and coaches to build some relationships. July recruiting will now drop to just one weekend. This move doesn’t really do much, if anything, to stop or limit corruption. It also does not help those prospects that are not in the top-50 or top-100. With all of the elite camps in June, non-elite prospects are now down to one July weekend to make an impression on a college coach.
All in all, the new rules really don’t address the problems with corruption in college basketball. The NCAA also did not consult with the NBA or USA Basketball in making its final decisions. While the NCAA was looking to solve problems, it may have actually created more.