As expected, the NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball’s recommendations included a lot of stern language about the problems facing the sport, but not that many solutions. I can’t say I’m surprised. After a quick glance, here are the major takeaways.
Call for end of one-and-done
Like we thought, the committee called for the end of the one-and-done rule, which was put in place by the NBA in 2006.
One-and-done has played a significant role in corrupting and destabilizing college basketball, restricting the freedom of choice of players, and undermining the relationship of college basketball to the mission of higher education. Elite high school players with NBA prospects and no interest in a college degree should not be “forced” to attend college, often for less than a year.
The commission said they considered, but is not recommending, the baseball rule because it would keep players ready for NBA in school against their will. Once again, this doesn’t mean anything unless the NBA and the Players Association move to end the rule, which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has hinted will happen in the near future. (UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowski reports the NBA and NBAPA are planning to end the one-and-done rule as early as the 2020 draft)
But what if it doesn’t? The committee said if the NBA doesn’t abolish the one-and-done rule by the end of 2018, it will consider other measure, such as freshman ineligibility, or locking a scholarship for two years if a player goes pro after one year. Both are horrible ideas.
Allowing undrafted underclassmen to return to school
The best and easiest recommendation the committee made was to allow underclassmen who declare for the draft to go through the draft and retain their eligibility should they not be selected or sign a professional contract. The only restrictions are that the player must return to the same school and request an evaluation from the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee.
No movement towards paying players
Unfortunately, the committee did not recommend allowing players to profit off their likeness, defending its amateurism model and justifying pushing this issue off until the NCAA finds a way to legislate it.
“The goal should not be to turn college basketball into another professional league.”
The one piece of news that could make an actual change would be allowing players to have contact with certified agents through their high school and college careers. This would help players make educated choices about their future while eliminating a lot of the secret meetings that already take place, as we found out via leaked documents a few weeks ago.
Elite high school and college players need earlier professional advice, including whether to declare for the draft or whether college basketball offers a superior pathway. If NCAA rules do not allow them to receive that advice openly, they will often seek it illicitly. The NCAA rules should provide that student-athletes may meet and contract with NCAA-certified agents and that they will not lose their eligibility by doing so.
USA Basketball alternative to Summer Leagues
The commission recommended partnering with USA Basketball and the NBA to create a viable alternative to summer leagues funded by shoe companies such as Nike’s EYBL, Adidas Gauntlet, and the Under Armour Association. That’s a no-brainer but will require a huge investment.
As far as all the under-the-table payments from those shoe companies, such as adidas, to recruits? The committee called for greater financial transparency from the companies and called upon university presidents to do more compliance checks. Given how much colleges make from the shoe companies, expecting anything more than stern language was naive.
Harsher penalties for Level 1 violations
In the wake of UNC getting off scot free for 18 years of academic fraud, the commission called for changes in the penalty structure, including a five-year postseason ban for Level I violations.
Easier paths to graduation for players that leave
The committee did recommend making the path to graduation for those who leave early easier, calling for all colleges to establish a degree completion program to support those who want to come back and finish their degrees. Kentucky already does this.
There’s a lot more, but these are the basic nuts and bolts. If you’d like to read the entire 60-page report for yourself, it’s now available on the NCAA’s website. We’ll continue to have coverage throughout the morning.
Correction: I misinterpreted the committee’s recommendations should the NBA keep the one-and-done rule. Instead of locking a player in for three or four years, if a player goes pro after one year, the school would lose the scholarship the next two years. Either way, it’s dumb.