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Volume 25 No. 61
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NBA, USA Basketball Reportedly Blindsided By NCAA Policy Changes

NBA-NBPA talks about ending one-and-done rule are centered on '22 draft at the earliest
Photo: NBAE/getty images

NBA and USA Basketball execs were "blindsided by the timing and changes in the NCAA's announcement of future rules surrounding pro basketball prospects," according to sources cited by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. Among the NCAA's "several policy shifts" were the "assigning of responsibility to USA Basketball for something the organization had already told the NCAA it wanted no part: bearing responsibility for selecting elite senior high school prospects who will be allowed to sign with registered agents." Sources said that USA Basketball "doesn't have the infrastructure, nor interest in accepting the role of evaluating the nation's top prospects for a yet-to-be-determined number of players who'll annually be allowed to sign with agents at the end of their junior years." Sources added that USA Basketball "prefers that the NBA make those decisions." Sources said that the NBA, USA Basketball and NCAA did "meet and discuss these prospective changes, but the NBA and USA Basketball never believed they had come to a consensus with the NCAA on how they would move forward together on the issues." Several NBA officials were "surprised over the presumptive and premature nature of the NCAA's rules changes," which assumed that the NBA and NBPA will "abandon the one-and-done college rule and allow high school players" into the NBA Draft. While that "appears to be the direction the league and union are headed, discussions are centered" on the '22 Draft at the earliest (ESPN.com, 8/8).

COME TOGETHER: NCAA President Mark Emmert said the NBA and NBPA have "expressed a keen interest in working with" the NCAA on this issue. The Commission on College Basketball's report stated, "‘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." (WASHINGTON POST, 8/9). Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari noted "none of this goes in effect until the NBA and the Players' Association come up with something," which reportedly will not be until '22. Calipari: “We’re probably wasting out breath dealing with the ins and outs of this” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 8/8). ESPN’s Jay Williams: “The only actual entity that can dictate what agents can do is the players’ union, so the union needs to be in control of that. That’s not the NCAA. Almost in a way this makes me think are the NBA and NCAA almost in bed together to a certain degree? And if they are, when does the union step in?” (“Get Up!,” ESPN, 8/9).

MURKY WATER: THE ATHLETIC's Sam Vecenie wrote due to a "lack of synergy" with the NBA and USA Basketball, the NCAA's most important proposed reforms are "more theoretical in nature than actualized." There are "plenty of unanswered questions involving what is ultimately an inane idea to have USA Basketball involved." First, USA Basketball is "sponsored by Nike." Vecenie: "From a logical perspective given what the NCAA purports itself to care about, wouldn’t there be potential for further corruption by 'harmful outside influence' in regard to who gets picked for this status, depending on what sneaker circuit each prospect plays on?" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/8). ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk said the NBA's influence on the new rules is "important" because the league can "help the NCAA oversee everything and that provides a little more legitimacy." The rule changes were "hastily" put together, which is "not necessarily a great thing for the NCAA." But they are a "step in the right direction" and the NCAA "should incorporate the NBA if they can" ("The Jump," ESPNews, 8/8).