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NCAA Announces Bold Rule Changes for College Basketball

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They Said Amateurism Was Dead: The NCAA Says Otherwise

NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the NCAA announced a number of new rules for college basketball. These changes were originally recommended by the Rice Commission, lead by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

You can read the ESPN piece here. The NCAA hopes to clean up a sport fraught with controversies by changing how it fundamentally approaches amateurism.

One embarrassing scandal involved a number of college basketball coaches and Adidas.

Louisville was hit hard, losing its legendary coach, Rick Pitino. Another case involved Arizona reportedly offering a six figure sum to entice a recruit to sign with the school.

Let’s evaluate and analyze how and if these new rules will change college basketball’s landscape.

NBA Draft

The NCAA will allow undrafted players the chance to return to their schools. The previous rule states that a player needed to withdraw from the draft no more than ten days after the combine. The NBA and the NBA Player’s Association have to agree to the rule, so that could be a sticking point.

Verdict

Dewan Huell, the incoming junior for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team, recently tested the draft waters. He probably would have gone undrafted had he stayed in the draft. That isn’t an indictment on Huell. There are 60 total draft slots. A mind boggling 236 players, college and international, declared for the 2018 draft.

That number could double, maybe even triple in the coming years. Every college basketball player with a dream to play in the NBA will want to declare.

Plus there will be tremendous fan anguish. Our patience might be tested mightily as we wait to see if a star player has his name called by Adam Silver.

If we’re thinking about the player’s best interest, this rule is a no brainer. Hopefully the NCAA makes the same changes to college football, as well. A player losing his eligibility and not getting drafted hurts college basketball. What’s better for the sport is an undrafted player getting a second chance to improve his draft stock.

Most players will stay for their senior seasons because a lot of them simply won’t get drafted until their eligibility is up. As a result, kids are in a better position to obtain their degrees.

ESPN previewed Kentucky Wildcats basketball. Skip to the 4:16 mark. Calipari brings up an interesting point. What if there isn’t a scholarship available to the undrafted player post draft?

Recruiting

The NCAA will allow incoming high school seniors fifteen total on-campus visits, which is a lot more than the previous total of five. Recruits can only visit a campus officially one time.

Verdict

Under the previous rules, recruits didn’t have enough leverage. In theory, high school seniors in basketball are expected to fall into a repeated pattern in which the schools they consider are affiliated with their AAU teams or an apparel company.

Don’t expect someone to take fifteen visits in a single calendar year. But maybe that option allows a young kid a different route that isn’t prescribed.

Providing recruits access to a variety of basketball programs can be a game changer for schools like Miami. Small programs, when compared to Duke or Kentucky, are often the last one’s out in the race to receive one of five on-campus visits. More on-campus visits means better odds for Miami’s basketball recruiting.

Apparel Companies, Summer Basketball

College basketball coaches are required to report to the university president income from any source, like an apparel company, exceeding $600. This rule can take six to twelve months to implement.

The goal is to improve transparency regarding basketball summer leagues, which many apparel companies use to expand their influence. In 2015, Adidas and Miami struck a twelve year partnership. As an example of going with what you know, recent draft pick and Canes alum, Lonnie Walker, signed a pro endorsement deal with Adidas.

Also disclosed as part of the NCAA’s sweeping changes is an entirely different approach to summer basketball camps.

College basketball coaches will be given more access to high school sponsored events. At the same time, these coaches will have limited access to non-high school sponsored events.

Verdict

The recipe for corruption is fairly clear from the NCAA’s vantage point. An investment in summer basketball leagues can equate to blue chip recruit access.

The NCAA trying their best to eliminate future Adidas controversies.

Agents

To make a long story short, anybody can now legally sign with an agent and still retain their college eligibility in the eyes of the NCAA. In previous years, once a player signed with an agent, his amateur career officially ended. Agents can pay for basic necessities like travel experiences during agent recruitment and meetings with pro teams.

This one is a bit tricky because the NCAA is taking a proactive response to a possible change to the one-and-done-rule. “Elite” high school players can sign with an agent and retain their college eligibility.

ESPN reports that USA Basketball “doesn’t have the infrastructure or interest in accepting the role of evaluating the nation’s top prospects for a yet-to-be-determined number of players.”

That’s code for it could take awhile.

Verdict

Too often a young man not even old enough to drink had to decide whether to sign with an agent or not. 181 underclassmen declared for the 2018 NBA draft. 40 underclassmen were drafted. 141 were not drafted. That’s 141 players who could not return to college basketball before today’s NCAA announcement. 141 players who lost it all the moment they signed with an agent.

Given the age of the people making these serious life decisions, giving them a second chance makes sense. It starts with not penalizing them for trying to go pro. Removing the lose-it-all-if-you-sign-with-an-agent deal helps the college basketball player as much as anything else.

That’s the one takeaway from the NCAA’s announcement. They are putting college basketball players first.

The NCAA is taking a pro-active approach to the wildly unpopular one-and-done rule. The Adidas controversies surrounding Louisville and other schools revolved around high school seniors who arguably had no interest in attending college in the first place.

Ex-Louisville commit Brian Bowen just signed a contract to play pro ball in Australia before suiting up a single second in college. We could debate for hours if Bowen would have declared right out of high school if given the chance.

More analysis on the NCAA announcement from ESPN.

Conclusion

These rule changes authored by the NCAA have given college basketball a much needed reboot. A lot of us view amateurism like cheating in sports. I feel better about college basketball knowing that its governing body has taken steps to curtail six figure payments to certain basketball players.

I want as a fan of Miami a level playing field. I want a better chance at high profile recruits. I want members of our basketball team to stay in school until they are absolutely ready for the pros. I want these players to get their degrees.

The NCAA alleviated all these concerns with the rules they announced today. Hopefully, the NCAA proposes such changes to college football in the near future.

Poll

Do you agree with the NCAA in changing these rules?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Yes
    (44 votes)
  • 6%
    No
    (3 votes)
47 votes total Vote Now