Major rule changes alter men's college basketball

Adam Jardy
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann calls a play during a game against The Citadel on Dec. 19 at Value City Arena. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

When the NCAA created the Commission on College Basketball last year, its goal was to address issues highlighted by an FBI investigation into the sport.

Its recommendations were released Wednesday and, although they will ultimately change some aspects of the sport, their potential impact on cleaning up the game is unclear.

High school and college players who are classified as “elite” can now be represented by an agent, provided the agent is NCAA-certified, to help them make informed decisions about turning pro. That process can begin July 1 of their senior year in high school, provided they have been identified as an elite senior talent by USA Basketball.

According to an ESPN report, however, USA Basketball was not made aware of this change and it is unknown whether the organization is capable of leading such a process.

Then, pending action from the NBA and its players’ association, players who enter the NBA draft but are not selected can return to their college program without forfeiting their eligibility.

In addition, all college players can now be represented by an agent if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. The agent can pay for meals and transportation for players and their families as part of the agent evaluation process; and meals, transportation and lodging as part of meetings with the agent or a professional team.

But players will not be allowed to work with agents unless the NBA abolishes the one-and-done rule requiring high school players to spend at least one year in college before becoming professionals. That likely would not take effect until at least 2021.

The recruiting calendar will change effective April 1, 2019, in a few ways:

• Four-day recruiting periods in April, from Monday through Thursday, will be added.

• Coaches can attend and evaluate players at a National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp in June.

• Coaches will be allowed to attend sanctioned events in June and July.

Those changes generally extend the time coaches can recruit in April and shorten the time they can recruit in July. The top 100 camp is new.

Before Ohio State left for its exhibition trip to Spain, coach Chris Holtmann was asked for his thoughts on potential changes to the recruiting calendar. He said he hadn’t been involved in the decision-making process but that he had had conversations with athletic director Gene Smith on the topic.

“I know Gene Smith had some influence on that, and I totally understand the motivation behind some of those decisions,” he said on July 31. “I think time will tell on how it’s all going to play out. A lot of people that have complained about July and what the recruiting period is going to look like next year.”

Official visits will change as part of the proposals. Athletes can take as many as 15 official visits starting Aug. 1, when they can take as many as five through the end of their junior year. They can then take five more between the end of their junior year and Oct. 15, after high school graduation and, if needed, five more for the remainder of their collegiate eligibility. This will go into effect next week.

Currently, players are allowed five official visits at the completion of their junior year in high school.


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