NCAA announces major rules changes in college basketball

  • 08/08/2018 1:52 pm in

The NCAA announced major rules changes on Wednesday that come as a result of the commission on college basketball. The commission, led by Condoleeza Rice, was formed last fall after the FBI’s probe into the sport.

The changes are broken down into several categories, including:

· Flexibility for going pro and getting a degree
· Minimizing harmful outside resources
· A more efficient, binding enforcement system
· Stronger accountability and penalties
· Independent investigators and decision-makers
· Adding public voices

There are several notable changes that include an overhaul of the recruiting calendar, agent representation for student athletes, the ability to return to school in certain instances when a player isn’t drafted and much more.

The full release from the NCAA is available at this link, but we’ve also compiled all of the applicable information so you can learn about all of the changes in one place. (All information is taken directly from the NCAA’s release unless otherwise noted.)

Flexibility for going pro and getting a degree

The following changes are effective on August 15, 2018:

Basketball student-athletes can make more frequent campus visits paid for by colleges (referred to as official visits), which can begin as soon as Aug. 1 the summer before their junior year in high school. They can take:

– Five visits between Aug. 1 and the end of their junior year of high school.
– Five visits between the end of their junior year and Oct. 15 after high school graduation.
– Five visits between Oct. 15 after high school graduation and the remainder of their college eligibility.
– A student-athlete can visit a school only once per year. Unofficial visits — those made at his or her own expense — cannot begin before Aug. 1 of the student’s sophomore year of high school.

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

The following changes could become effective pending a decision by the NBA and NBPA:

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 following changes are effective immediately:

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.

The following changes are subject to revisions to the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, Revised Uniform Athlete Agents Act and relevant state laws. If/when those are changed, the new rules are effective immediately:

Agents can pay for meals and transportation for players and their families if the expenses are related to the agent selection process. Also, the student cannot miss class, and the money must be spent where the student lives or attends school. Additionally, high school and college student-athletes and their families can have meals, transportation and lodging paid for by an agent if those expenses are associated with meetings with the agent or a pro team.

The following changes are effective immediately:

All agreements between agents and high school or college student-athletes must be:

– In writing.
– Terminated when the student enrolls in or returns to college.
– Disclosed to the NCAA (for high school students) or the school (for students already in college).

For now, NBPA-certified agents will be considered NCAA certified. However, on or before Aug. 1, 2020, agents will need to be certified as part of a new NCAA program:

To work with a high school or college athlete, agents must be certified by an NCAA program with standards for behavior and consequences for violations. Family members of the high school recruit or college athlete or those who act solely on behalf of a professional sports team aren’t required to be certified.

The following change is effectively immediately:

Since 2016, college athletes who are interested in going pro have been able to declare for the draft and attend the NBA combine but have been required to withdraw no more than 10 days after the combine to stay eligible. Now, students who wish to enter the draft also must request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which will provide valuable information to assist student-athletes in making the decision to turn pro or stay in school.

The following change will be effective if/when the NBA and NBPA make an expected rule change, which would make undrafted student-athletes who return to college after the draft ineligible for the NBA until the end of the next college basketball season:

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.

The following change is effective on Aug. 1, 2019:

Division I schools will be required to pay for tuition, fees and books for basketball players who leave school and return later to the same school to earn their degree. Former student-athletes will be eligible for financial assistance to complete their first degree if they were on scholarship and fewer than 10 years have passed since they left school. Additionally, students must have been in school for two years before leaving. Former student-athletes also must meet all the school’s admissions and financial aid requirements and must have exhausted all other funding options to be eligible, as well as meet all NCAA academic requirements.

Minimizing harmful outside influences

The following change is effective on Jan. 24, 2019:

Basketball-related events for high school students will be subject to more rigorous certification requirements to ensure transparency in operations and finances. This will address issues of corruption and help support student-athletes as they make decisions about their future. The certification criteria will be overseen by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, and the NCAA Enforcement Certification and Approvals Group will administer the certification program.

The following changes are effective April 1, 2019:

The recruiting calendar, which creates more restrictions around events not sponsored by high schools, will allow coaches to attend additional high school-sponsored events. The new rules add four-day recruiting periods (Monday through Thursday) in April but do not increase the limit on days individual coaches can recruit. Also, coaches will be allowed to attend and evaluate recruits at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp in mid-June. Additionally, coaches will be able to attend events during the last two weekends of June if the events are approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations; organized by groups affiliated with high schools or high school coaching associations; and occur at middle schools, high schools or colleges. Coaches also can attend one weekend youth basketball event in early July.

The calendar also allows coaches to attend NCAA youth development camps in late July, a new collaboration between the NCAA, USA Basketball, the NBA and the NBPA.

The following change is effective immediately:

Coaches and athletics staff must report to the university’s president or chancellor athletics-related income of more than $600 from any source outside their school. Examples include endorsement or consultation contracts with apparel companies, manufacturers, television or radio programs; and income from ownership, control or management of a foundation. The rule promotes increased transparency between NCAA schools and outside entities.

The following is dependent upon cooperation from apparel companies, but the NCAA’s goal is to have agreements finalized within six to 12 months:

The NCAA is pursuing agreements with apparel companies on expectations for accountability and transparency regarding their involvement in youth basketball. The NCAA Board of Governors seeks to develop agreements that require apparel companies to make annual disclosures, obtain NCAA certification for all youth basketball activities and report potential NCAA rule violations. Additionally, parties should formalize relationships in areas where interests overlap, such as playing rules and equipment standards.

A more efficient, binding enforcement system

The following changes are effective immediately and must be included in contracts/appointments made on or after Aug. 8, 2018. Penalties are effective Feb. 1, 2019:

As a term of employment, school presidents and athletics staff must commit contractually to full cooperation in the investigations and infractions process. Full cooperation means reporting violations in a timely manner; sharing all knowledge and documents requested in a timely manner; providing access to all electronic devices, social media and other technology; and maintaining confidentiality. The chair of the Division I Committee on Infractions or the Independent College Sports Adjudication Panel can impose immediate penalties when schools or individuals do not cooperate (including loss of revenue or postseason opportunities). These bodies can consider lack of cooperation as admission of a violation.

The following change is effective immediately:

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.

The following change is effective immediately:

When schools and NCAA staff agree on the facts of a case, they can work together on a resolution, including appropriate penalties, if any. This change will reduce legal fees and minimize drawn-out adversarial situations. Agreed-upon resolutions are subject to approval by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions.

Stronger accountability and penalties

The following change is effective on Aug. 1, 2019 for Division I basketball:

University presidents and chancellors will be personally accountable for their athletics program following the rules. Presidents and chancellors join all athletics staff members in affirming the athletics program meets obligations for monitoring rules compliance, which is required to be eligible for the postseason. Also, schools are required to cooperate fully during NCAA investigations and take appropriate corrective action.

The following change is effective immediately:

Those who break the rules face stronger penalties, including longer postseason bans (up to five years), longer head coach suspensions (could extend beyond one season), longer employment limitations for coaches and staff who violate rules (potential for lifetime show-cause orders), increased recruiting restrictions and the loss of all revenue associated with the Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

Independent investigators and decision-makers

The following changes become effective on Aug. 1, 2019:

Changes to the investigations and infractions process create independent groups to prevent conflicts of interest. Cases deemed complex will be eligible for this independent process. Examples of complex cases include alleged violations of core NCAA values, such as prioritizing academics and the well-being of student-athletes; the possibility of major penalties; or adversarial behavior. Multiple parties will be able to request a case be deemed complex: school representatives, NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions members or NCAA enforcement staff. The new groups include:

Independent Alternative Resolution Oversight Committee
This committee, composed of three public members of the NCAA Board of Governors and the chair and vice chair of the Division I Board of Directors, will oversee the entire independent enforcement and infractions processes. One of the public members will lead the group. In addition to general oversight, this committee will nominate members for the new independent groups listed below and work with the Division I Board of Directors on policies and procedures for the independent enforcement and infractions processes.

Infractions Referral Committee
When a school, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions or NCAA enforcement staff requests a case enter the new independent process, this committee reviews and makes decisions on those requests. The committee’s five members will include one Independent College Sports Adjudication Panel member (see below), one Division I Committee on Infractions member, one Division I Infractions Appeals Committee member, the Division I Council chair and the NCAA vice president of enforcement.

Complex Case Unit
This independent investigations group will include both external investigators with no school or conference affiliations and select NCAA enforcement staff. Independent investigators are a key part of the new process. Once a case is referred, unit members will decide whether further investigation of the facts is needed and, if it is, conduct the investigation and shepherd the case through its review by the Independent College Sports Adjudication Panel.

Independent College Sports Adjudication Panel
This group will review the findings from the Complex Case Unit and the school’s response to those findings, and then oversee the case hearing and decide penalties. The panel will consist of 15 members with legal, higher education and/or sports backgrounds who are not affiliated with NCAA member schools or conferences. Each case will be handled by a panel of five of the 15 members.

This committee will have the ability to expand upon allegations presented by the Complex Case Unit if deemed appropriate. This is a change from the current infractions process.

Adding public voices

If adopted at the 2019 NCAA convention, the following changes become effective on Aug. 1, 2019:

Public members not affiliated with the NCAA or member schools will join the NCAA Board of Governors to bring fresh perspectives and independent judgment.

Pending adoption at the NCAA Convention in January, five independent members will be added to the NCAA Board of Governors, which is responsible for oversight of the entire Association. Each member will be nominated by the Board of Governors Executive Committee, approved by the full board and serve a three-year term, which can be renewed once. The terms of the independent board members are longer than those served by school representatives. One member, voted on annually by all the independent members, will serve as a lead independent member and can serve in that role for no more than three years.

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