In its eagerness to “clean up” college basketball, the NCAA may have left a few stones unturned.
The NBA and USA Basketball were “blindsided” by both the timing and the content of the NCAA’s sweeping policy changes it announced Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, citing sources.
The NCAA’s rule changes, which come in response to an FBI investigation in February that exposed widespread corruption in college basketball, include allowing underclassmen to return to school if they enter the NBA Draft but don’t get drafted and allowing eligible college players to be represented by certified agents who can pay for their meals and transportation during meetings with NBA teams.
But the NCAA also stipulated that high school players will be allowed to sign with a certified agent, as well, if USA Basketball identifies those players as “elite senior prospects” and the NBA lowers the minimum draft age to 18.
That’s the stipulation that apparently caught the NBA and Team USA off-guard.
First of all, USA Basketball “doesn’t have the infrastructure, nor interest in accepting the role of evaluating the nation’s top prospects” to see if they’re eligible for an agent, sources told Wojnarowski. Team USA believes the NBA is much better equipped to evaluate talent, as league scouts already keep close tabs on high school prospects through pre-draft combine events and summer invitationals.
The NBA also balked at the NCAA’s assumption it would lower the draft age to 18. While things appear headed in that direction, the NBA and NBA Players Association don’t plan on abandoning the current “one-and-done” rule until the 2022 NBA Draft at the earliest, per Wojnarowski.
The NCAA did meet with the NBA and USA Basketball to discuss these rule changes, but it sounds like the NCAA went ahead without getting the green light, as the NBA and USA Basketball “never believed they had come to a consensus” with the NCAA about these rules, according to Wojnarowski.
The more things change, the more they stay the same with the NCAA.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images