The NCAA has announced changes to rules regarding highly-touted basketball prospects. Beginning this upcoming season, any undrafted players with remaining years of eligibility may return to college, even after declaring for the draft. Furthermore, college players may now sign with agents who can pay for minor expenses.
Duke Chronicle: The Duke Chronicle Staff report on Duke Athletic Director Kevin White’s positive reaction to these rule changes.
• According to White, “these changes represent the first steps in addressing some of the biggest challenges facing college basketball.”
• “We support the NCAA’s commitment to keeping the well-being of the student-athlete at the center of attention.”
Boston College Heights: Andy Backstrom believes “the NCAA is defiled by corruption and hypocrisy.”
• “Case after case, the NCAA routinely places a new band-aid on top of a wound that’s very much susceptible to infection.”
• “Always reactionary and never preventative, the sanctions seem as if they are designed to quench the thirst of public outcry, rather than address the compromised foundation of what has become a fraudulent system. The effects have only continued to worsen.”
Berkeley Daily Californian: Dev Navani explains that the NCAA “has stubbornly remained committed to ‘amateurism,’ a flawed concept.”
• Amateurism “no longer applies to the model of college sports, in an aim to rake in as much money as possible.”
• “Coaches, athletic directors, apparel companies, boosters and agents have long recognized the value of talented high school recruits. From Chris Webber at Michigan basketball and Reggie Bush at USC football, an underground economy has always existed for the services of these players.”
The Bottom Line:
These changes shift the oft-blurred line between collegiate and professional athletics. While the NCAA has long claimed that college athletes are merely amateurs, it has felt significant pressure in recent years to share the spoils reaped through apparel sales and massive television deals with the athletes who generate these profits. By allowing agents, the NCAA is making a minor- but many say insignificant- concession that gives college basketball players more freedom to explore potential professional careers earlier in their lives.