In the Paint: NCAA Making Changes to “Promote Integrity in the Game”

By Brian Akins / @BrianWNML

The NCAA made a decision Wednesday to make some changes when it comes to Division 1 college basketball.  These changes come just few months after multiple reports came out about corruption in the sport of college basketball.  Those alleged corruptions involved paying ‘elite’ high school recruits thousands of dollars to come to a specific school, among a plethora of other infractions.

NCAA Press Release:

Statement from NCAA leaders on college basketball reforms

August 8, 2018 11:55am

This week, we delivered on a promise made just months ago to make profound and meaningful changes to college basketball. Ultimately, these decisions will support the success of student-athletes both on and off the court.

The NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors adopted a series of significant policy and legislative changes, setting in motion actions to change the structure of the NCAA fundamentally. These changes will promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor.

We remain committed to promoting fairness in college sports and creating an environment that will champion the success of student-athletes.

To that end, the changes we approved will:

  • Provide college basketball players more freedom and flexibility to decide their future.
  • Minimize the leverage of outside influences on high school recruits and college athletes.
  • Add fresh perspective and independent judgment to NCAA decision-making at the highest level of policymaking and in investigations and case resolution.
  • Strengthen accountability and deter future rule-breaking with harsher penalties for those who break the rules.

The NCAA and its member schools are part of the broader higher education community, and today’s actions renew our commitment to our core purpose — preparing students for a lifetime of opportunity.

Change doesn’t end here. We will continue to work in all of these areas and continue to pursue collaboration with outside organizations, including the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, apparel companies and USA Basketball. If they are unwilling or unable to act, we will consider additional changes that will support the success of student-athletes. It’s on us to restore the integrity of college basketball and continue to improve the interests of all student-athletes. They deserve nothing less.

— Mark Emmert, NCAA president; G.P. “Bud” Peterson, NCAA Board of Governors chair and Georgia Tech president; Eric Kaler, Division I Board of Directors chair and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities president

Part of the issues that came out were involving apparel companies (i.e. Nike or Adidas) talking with high school recruits about endorsement deals and other incentives for going to a certain school to play.  For example, number one overall NBA draft pick DeAndre Ayton was reportedly offered $100,000 to play basketball at Arizona.  This is just one of many other reports involving incentives or pay to get an ‘elite’ prospect to go to a specific school.

One of the many constants that was involved in the investigations from earlier in the year, involved the role of an agent in the athletes’ life.  In many of the alleged cases the agents had many roles playing in what was going on in the decision-making process for the player.  Agent involvement is one of the changes made in the new NCAA rule changes states that high school athletes or college athletes can have an agent as long as the agent agreement is in writing, terminated when school starts, and disclosed to the NCAA (for high school athletes) or the school (for current college athletes).

Another rule change that the NCAA has made is that a college athlete who has decided to test the NBA can declare and participate in all of the NBA draft activities, but they can return to school if they are undrafted.  The previous rule stated that a player could declare for the NBA draft and return to college, but they had to withdraw their name from the draft no more than 10 days after the combine.

Tennessee guard Admiral Schofield tested the NBA waters under the old rule and declared for the draft, but ultimately decided to return to college to complete his senior season.  Tennessee’s men’s assistant basketball coach Rob Lanier joined SportsTalk with Jimmy Hyams and Vince Ferrara to discuss his thoughts on these new rule changes.

There were many other rules that were touched on in this mass rule change that came from out of nowhere.  One of those many rules stated that Team USA and the NBA can determine if a high school student-athlete is considered an ‘elite’ recruit going into his senior season.  Another rule change says that basketball-related events in high school will be subject to more rigorous certifications to help provide transparency.

The NCAA’s decision to release these new rule changes so abruptly caught some in the NBA completely off guard, and some of the new rules did not sit fondly with some in the NBA.

There is no doubt that the super storm of negative publicity that came from the investigations late last year left a black eye on the face of the NCAA.  So, seeing that they took to the rule book to make some changes is not surprising.  However, the success of these new rule changes are up in the air but in this case, only time will tell.

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