College Basketball

Undrafted Basketball Players Could Return to College Under New NCAA Rules

In response to federal investigations into several prominent college basketball programs last fall, the NCAA has announced new rules regarding men’s basketball and student athletes. Two of the most significant changes include allowing student athletes to participate in the NBA draft and return to college if undrafted, and requiring Division I schools to pay for tuition, fees and books for both men and women’s basketball players who left school and returned later to attain their degree.

Other noteworthy rule changes include:

  • Elite college players may be represented by an agent, who is certified by the NCAA, to help them make more informed decisions about turning pro.
  • High school basketball student-athletes can make more college campus visits, paid for by colleges, beginning as soon as the summer before their junior school year.
  • As a term of employment, school presidents and athletics staff will be personally accountable for their sports programs following the rules, including full cooperation in the investigations and infractions process.
  • Those schools who break rules face stronger penalties, including longer suspensions, playoff bans, and recruiting restrictions.

The new rules come on the heels of a Condoleezza Rice-led commission aimed at cleaning up college basketball. The NCAA notes the changes are intended “to promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor.” The changes will have to be approved by the NBA Players Union and be drafted into the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Officials for the NCAA acknowledge that this week’s announcement is only the start.


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