Undrafted college basketball players can return to school thanks to new NCAA rules

New rules adopted 'to change the structure of the NCAA fundamentally'

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Associated Press
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Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Florida's Anthony Roberson are just some of the many college basketball players who leave school early and go undrafted.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - College basketball players who go undrafted by the NBA will be allowed to return to school and play as part of sweeping NCAA reforms in the wake of a corruption scandal.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that its Board of Governors and Division I Council adopted a "series of significant policy and legislative changes, setting in motion actions to change the structure of the NCAA fundamentally."

The changes reflect the recommendations made in April by the Rice Commission and will target summer recruiting camps, agent access for players and stiffer penalties for rule breakers.

The Rice Commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was formed in response to an FBI investigation into payments from shoe companies to coaches for steering players to certain schools.

The changes also allow the NCAA to accept during investigations outside information that has been "established by another administrative body or a commission authorized by a school." The NCAA said that will save time since investigators would no longer have to independently confirm information outlined by other agencies or outside investigations.

In addition, school presidents and athletics staff will be required to commit "contractually" to cooperate fully with investigations.

Here's a look at some of the biggest rules changes and what it means for college basketball:

Official visits

Prospective student-athletes can make more frequent official visits to college campuses, beginning as soon as Aug. 1 the summer before their junior year of high school.

Recruits can make five visits between Aug. 1 and the end of their junior year, five visits between the end of their junior year and Oct. 15 after high school graduation, and five visits between Oct. 15 and the remainder of their college eligibility.

Unofficial visits, paid for at the recruit's own expense, can't begin before Aug. 1 of the student-athlete's sophomore year.

Schools can now pay for 28 official visits for recruits -- 34 for service academies -- over a rolling two-year period.

Effective date: Aug. 15

Agents

High school basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning July 1 before their senior year, provided they have been identified as an elite senior by USA Basketball.

College basketball players can be represented by an agent at the conclusion of any season if they request an evaluation from the NBA.

Agents can pay for meals and transportation for players and their families. However, students can't miss class and the money must be spent where the student lives or attends school.

All agreements between agents and high school or college players must be in writing, terminated when the student enrolls in or returns to school and disclosed to the NCAA.

Effective date: Immediately

NBA draft

College basketball players who are not selected in the NBA draft will be allowed to return to college if they have remaining eligibility and won't be eligible for the NBA until the end of the next college basketball season. 

Previously, early-entry players who declare for the NBA draft were allowed to return to school so long as they didn't hire an agent. But they must choose to return to school by the mandated deadline or risk losing their eligibility.

Under the new rules, former college players like Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Florida's Anthony Roberson, who both went undrafted, would be allowed to return for their senior seasons.

Effective date: Upon approval of the NBA and NBA Players Association

Graduation

Division I schools will be required to pay for tuition, fees and books for scholarship basketball players who leave school and later return to the same school to earn their degree if fewer than 10 years have passed. However, those players must have been enrolled for at least two years before leaving.

Effective date: Aug. 1, 2019

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