On Wednesday morning, the NCAA released new rules for its college basketball student-athletes. These rules were established to protect their athletes and give them a better chance to succeed both athletically and academically. These rules coincide with the fact that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA are gearing up to change the age-eligibility rule for the NBA draft in 2021. Here is what we know:
College basketball players who do not hear their name called on draft night now have the ability to return to their respective colleges. Prior to this rule, these players were forced to play in the G-League or pursue a career in another country if an NBA team does not sign them, and if they wanted to maintain college eligibility, these players had to withdraw from the NBA Draft ten days prior to the draft actually occurring. Because of the newly implemented rules, undrafted collegiate basketball players now have until the Monday after the draft to notify their university’s athletic director that they will return to school.
High school prospects deemed “elite” by USA Basketball can now hire an agent beginning July 1st of the summer prior to their senior year of high school.
College student-athletes can hire an agent after any basketball season after an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. These agents have the ability to pay for food and transportation for their clients and their families if it is linked to the agent selection process or a meeting with a professional team. These agents must be certified by an NCAA program with standards for behavior and consequences for violations.
Perhaps one of the most important decisions made by the NCAA in this rule change is the increase of official visits from five to 15. Per NCAA.com, the athlete can take five visits between August 1st and the end of their junior year of high school, five visits between the end of their junior year and the October 15th after their high school graduation, and five between that October 15th and the remainder of their college eligibility. Athletes no longer have to take as many unofficial visits in which all expenses are paid by themselves and have an additional five official visits prior to graduating high school to give themselves more options before committing to a university. In addition, if that first school turns out to be the incorrect fit for the athlete, those last five official visits can be used to help the student-athlete in their process of transferring to a new program.
The final rule implemented by the NCAA will provide free tuition for any athlete who left school early to pursue a professional career and would later return to the same school to earn their degree. The NCAA is creating a fund for those schools who would otherwise not be able to afford this financial aid.
These rules will be put in effect August 15th, 2018.
University of South Carolina ’21