NCAA adopts college basketball reforms for draft, recruiting

Kristopher Nichols
August 11, 2018

What the NCAA announced Wednesday, such as allowing the very top high school players to have agents and letting some players who go undrafted return to college ball, is progress. Under the proposed rule change, they would have to declare their intent by 5 p.m. the Monday following the NBA Draft.

If the NBA allows high school students to enter its draft, elite high school senior basketball players (as determined by U.S. basketball) will be allowed to sign with an agent.

On Tuesday, the NCAA made its first steps in reaction to an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe that identified corruption in basketball, and it has huge implications for high school players.

The changes reflect the recommendations made in April by the Rice Commission and will target summer recruiting camps, agent access for players and stiffer penalties for rule breakers. The announcement that USA Basketball would determine which players would be permitted to hire agents apparently "blindsided" both that organization, who are not viewed as prepared to handle such a responsibility.

University presidents and chancellors will be held "personally accountable" for any rule-breaking by their athletic departments. This change depends on cooperation with the NBA and NBA Players Association.

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Last month in Las Vegas, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, "My personal view is that we're ready to make that change, [but] that it won't come immediately". Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president for basketball, said event operators will have to "meet a much higher bar in order to be able to run those events".

In addition, there have also been changes to the current recruiting rules. NCAA cases now can draw upon information obtained through other entities, such as government agencies, which will speed up the process of investigating issues. Coaches and athletics staff must now also report any income over $600 from a source outside the school, such as an apparel company.

Division I schools are now required to pay for tuition, fees and books for men's and women's basketball player who return to their school to finish their degree.

The NCAA is taking steps to try to clean up college basketball, carving out a limited role for agents to work with players and changing pivotal parts of its rules-enforcement system as part of numerous reforms in the wake of a corruption scandal.

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