NCAA basketball announces new policies, harsher penalties

Aug 8, 2018, 3:45 PM
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)...
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

NCAA basketball announced Wednesday a series of sweeping reforms that would impact the way players are recruited and go through the draft process.

In the wake of the FBI investigation into payments from shoe companies aimed to steer players to schools, the Rice Commission — led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — made recommendations on improving accountability in the NCAA, according to the Associated Press.

Among these is how student-athletes and agents are allowed to interact.

If the NBA and NCAA allow high school students to enter the NBA Draft, “elite” high school basketball players will be allowed to hire an agent starting July 1 before their senior year in high school.

Whether a player is “elite” will be determined by USA Basketball.

“If you’re invited to a USA Basketball camp prior to your senior year, you are allowed to have an agent,” ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony said on The Jump.

Additionally, college players will be allowed to be represented by an agent after each season.

Agents will be allowed to pay some expenses for players. Meals and transportation can be covered for players and family if the expenses are related to the agent selection process. If the expenses are dealing with agent or professional team meetings, agents can also pay for lodging.

Collegiate basketball players will also now be allowed to return to school and play if they go undrafted, as long as they attended the combine and requested an Undergraduate Advisory Committee evaluation.

If an athlete returns to college — or if a high school prospect enrolls in college — the agent-player contract would be terminated.

High school players will be allowed to take more campus visits paid for by colleges. They can make up to five visits beginning Aug. 1 before their junior year, five between the end of their junior year and Oct. 15 after high school graduation, and five more until their college eligibility ends.

The NCAA also touched upon post-basketball plans.

If a former college basketball player decides to return to their D-1 school within 10 years of leaving, the university will be required to pay for tuition, fees and books for the student.

The student must have spent at least two years at the school before leaving.

“Former student-athletes also must meet all the school’s admissions and financial aid requirements and must have exhausted all other funding options to be eligible, as well as meet all NCAA academic requirements,” NCAA said in a statement.

In addition, NCAA adopted rules directly relating to corruption cases.

With input from the Rice Commission, it announced independent investigators would be hired to prevent conflict of interest in what the NCAA is calling “complex” cases.

School presidents and athletics staff will be required to contractually commit to full cooperation with investigations.

Programs are now required to report income of more than $600 from outside sources, including apparel companies and television programs.

Additionally, investigators will be allowed to accept new information by other bodies, including a court of law or government agency. The NCAA, which said it previously had to verify information independently, expects to save time and resources.

To uphold these rules, the NCAA is instituting stronger penalties, including postseason bans up to five years, head coach suspensions that could extend beyond one season, and stronger recruiting restrictions.

The NCAA hopes that these adopted changes will “change the structure of the NCAA fundamentally,” a statement from college basketball leaders read.

“These changes will promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor,” the statement said.

While the NCAA has announced regulations both directly and indirectly affecting recruiting and agent representation, it’s unclear how the implementation will affect the NBA and USA Basketball.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, USA Basketball and the NBA were “blindsided” by this.

“USAB doesn’t have desire or infrastructure for those evaluations (of high school prospects),” Wojnarowski tweeted.

According to Givony, USA Basketball hasn’t had “substantive” conversations about the NCAA changes.

Nevertheless, he called these changes a “long-time coming” for college basketball.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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