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NCAA implements significant rule changes to college basketball

Some of these new policies could directly effect TCU Basketball.

TCU Basketball vs Texas 2.10.18
TCU Basketball vs Texas 2.10.18
Melissa Triebwasser

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that it had accepted recommendations handed down by the infractions committee, stemming from last year’s FBI-led investigation into college basketball. In all, there were two main goals that came out of the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball - to minimize harmful outside influences and give student-athletes more control and flexibility.

Those two goals led to four major changes. Let’s take a look at them and how they might specifically impact the rising program at TCU.

  • Undrafted players can return to school if they were invited to the NBA Combine.

Simply put, this means that the top players in college basketball can enter the draft without risking and remaining eligibility should they not be selected. The more detailed explanation states:

College basketball players who request an Undergraduate Advisory Committee evaluation, participate in the NBA combine and aren’t drafted can return to school as long as they notify their athletics director of their intent by 5 p.m. the Monday after the draft.

This would not have effected either of the Frogs’ potential draftees, as both Kenrich Williams and Vladimir Brodziansky had used up their eligibility prior to the NBA Draft process. But, it could certainly impact the draft class of 2019. Both Desmond Bane and Jaylen Fisher will likely be on NBA radars, and could easily be selected to participate in the pro combine after their junior campaigns. Were either, or both, of them to enter the draft process and not be selected in either of the NBA’s two round draft, they could elect to come back to school for their senior seasons.

What I am most interested in regarding this change is how it affects team scholarships. This year, the draft was held on June 21st, a point when programs have generally decided their scholarship rosters. If TCU has two players leave and signs two players to replace them - and they come back - how will it all balance out? I am sure there are plans in the works, but we could see this be a hurdle for the Horned Frogs in 2019.

  • The NCAA is allowing “elite” high school players and any college player to be represented by an agent

This one is a bit trickier, and more up for debate. Any player can ask to be evaluated by the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee - something that many players take advantage of prior to declaring for the draft already - and if they are deemed ‘elite’ by whatever metric is being used, can hire an approved agent.

College basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning after any basketball season if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Pending a decision by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, high school basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning July 1 before their senior year in high school, provided they have been identified as an elite senior prospect by USA Basketball.

The effective date will be decided if/when the NBA and the NBPA permit high school students to enter the draft.

This means that top players can have meals, travel, and training expenses covered by agents, as long as they are in the draft process - but, and this is the key - they must disengage as soon as they make the decision to re-enroll in school. This could get really messy, really quickly. Imagine a top player signs with Agent A, and he covers all of his expenses over the course of the several week pre-draft process (something that can easily run in the tens of thousands of dollars). If the player either goes undrafted or elects to return to school, it appears that there is no obligation to resign with that same agent the next go-round. Additionally, international players - Kouat Noi comes to mind - are eligible to be a part of USA Basketball, so what will that look like for them? There are a lot more questions than answers with this particular change.

  • The NCAA no longer has to do its own investigating into rule breakers

This one makes a ton of sense, but hopefully is one that TCU fans never really have to care about. Basically, what they are saying, is that when the FBI finds all of these schools guilty of cheating, the schools can still be punished by the NCAA.

People charged with investigating and resolving NCAA cases can accept information established by another administrative body, including a court of law, government agency, accrediting body or a commission authorized by a school. This will save time and resources previously used to confirm information already adjudicated by another group.

  • Grassroots basketball will have less influence

We saw the impact of some of the AAU Basketball schedule changes this summer, something that was met with mixed opinions by coaches.

Jeff Goodman laid out the new schedule in a tweet:

SB Nation’s main site broke it down like this:

Grassroots basketball is the proper term of “AAU”. At the moment, most of the major recruits play in shoe company-sponsored leagues by Nike, Adidas and Under Armour during the summer. This is the NCAA’s attempt to deemphasize that and put coaches back in high school gyms with players competing with the high school teams. Yes, coaches can still be at grassroots events for one weekend in July, which means Peach Jam will be saved.

But the NCAA’s intent here is clear: it believes grassroots basketball is the source of much of the corruption throughout the sport, and it wants to diminish its influence.

This impacts the Frogs significantly, in this new era of Jamie Dixon and TCU recruiting four and five star players. Many of the country’s top players have long been tied to shoe-company teams, something that will be less and less true in the coming years. That can only help clean up the game at the collegiate level.

There are still plenty of questions surrounding these changes, and in reality, we won’t know how impactful they are for years to come. But, it’s a step in the right direction, and hopefully ultimately helps both programs and players to be successful.