NBA, USA Basketball Blindsided By NCAA's Proposed 'Elite' Prospect Rule

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Slow clap to the NCAA for inching some rules toward the realities of college basketball.

Among the most significant changes, stemming from the April recommendations made by the Condoleezza Rice-led commission, are the ability for "elite" high school recruits and college basketball players to be represented by agents, and for players to enter the NBA draft and then return to school, if they go undrafted.

For players to take advantage of this change, they would need to declare for the draft, request an undergraduate advisory committee evaluation from the National Basketball Association and be invited to participate in the National Basketball Association combine.

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The NCAA included a provision allowing agent relationships for high school players identified as an elite prospect by USA Basketball beginning July 1 before their senior year, though only if the NBA changes its age-limit restrictions. The rule changes are effective immediately. The announcement that USA Basketball would determine which players would be permitted to hire agents apparently "blindsided" both that organization, who are not viewed as prepared to handle such a responsibility. College players will also be allowed representation as soon as their seasons end if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. To me, maximizing a kid's opportunity to better himself should be more important than protecting college coaches' keeping their rosters tidy in June. The agent's work would stop if the player enrolls in or returns to college. The NCAA plans to pursue more rigorous certification requirements to ensure transparency in operations and finances. "Division I", NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a teleconference with reporters Wednesday afternoon. "Also, schools are required to cooperate fully during NCAA investigations and take appropriate corrective action".

The NCAA also created new rules on when college coaches can see athletes. NCAA cases now can draw upon information obtained through other entities, such as government agencies, which will speed up the process of investigating issues. The NCAA will also add public members to its Board of Governors. Agents often get a bad rap as pragmatists and manipulators; they serve a necessary and appropriate role in this process.

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