Opinion: NCAA rule offers little change

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons | Amidst a wave of scandals that recently swept over college basketball, NCAA President Mark Emmert (center) is hopeful that the new rule changes to NBA Draft eligibility will ultimately benefit student athletes.

The NCAA announced new rule changes with regard to basketball players with hopes of playing in the NBA this past week.

The changes aim to address issues brought forth by a commission that was created in response to the FBI investigation into college hoops last year.

However, I’m not quite sure that these rule changes, while they may be a step in the right direction, really alter much of the landscape for these elite prospects.
I’ll start with the first change. Those players who enter their name into the NBA Draft but do not hear their names called will now be eligible to return to their schools and play out the next season.

This is different from the previous rules where players would have to withdraw their names from the draft within 10 days of the NBA combine. Those who did not withdraw their names would be considered free agents, who could choose to sign with any team they’d like.

While this rule sounds great on paper, there is only a very limited number of players who will benefit from it.

Most players who go to the combine know roughly where they stand with NBA teams and if they are likely to go in the first or second rounds, with the potential of being signed as an undrafted free agent.

If they know that they aren’t going to be picked in one of these three things, they withdraw from the draft and go back to school.

There are also financial questions of how this rule is going to work.

The NCAA is requiring schools to provide scholarships for those players who choose to return.

While many of the elite schools already do this, even for players who are up to 10 years removed from their playing days, how will smaller schools pay for scholarships that haven’t been budgeted yet?

The NCAA claims they will set up a fund that will help provide for these smaller schools, but there is no guarantee that this will work.

One of the other big rule changes is how the NCAA handles agents.

The NCAA will allow players to hire agents as long as these agents complete a certification as well as request an evaluation from the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee.

In addition, high school prospects who are designated “elite prospects” by USA Basketball can now hire agents, provided that the NBA changes its age limit.

Still with me? Good.

Again, while this sounds good on paper, I’m not totally confident it will work well in practice.

What kind of a certification process can an agent go through that makes them truly a good agent? Who says that these agents aren’t going to just abuse these players for their own benefit?

This was also all announced without consultation of USA Basketball, as well as the NBA.
Both organizations seemed just as puzzled by this announcement as the rest of us.

There are many more rule changes that the NCAA announced in an attempt to fix the issues of corruption in college basketball, but in a way, they just created more problems.

Instead of taking meaningful steps to end corruption, they just tried to mask it with more confusing rules. Maybe one day they’ll actually address what the FBI investigated — but I don’t see these rules making a difference anytime soon.

By: Jack Dunn | Campus News Editor