After an FBI investigation found in September that several Division I college basketball coaches were implicated in recruiting bribery, the NCAA wanted to change up some rules to safeguard themselves from ever having to clean up this mess again.
Due to the clamor that the National Basketball Association should abolish the one-and-done rule stating that prospects straight out of high school are not deemed eligible to declare for the draft, the league has been moving in that direction.
Among the most significant changes are the new rules that allow undrafted players to return to school, provide financial assistance to players who leave school early and wish to return later to finish their degree, and give high school and college athletes the opporunity to be represented by an agent.
Among the changes is the reversal of a rule that has long separated amateur from pro athletes. Under the rule, agents representing these athletes must be certified by the NCAA.
These are all good steps toward serving the athletes who make the NCAA tournament great each year. College players will also be allowed representation as soon as their seasons end if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.
Some of the changes go into effect immediately. To me, maximizing a kid's opportunity to better himself should be more important than protecting college coaches' keeping their rosters tidy in June. Among them: The players most in need of representation and having to go back to school would be ones who weren't selected for the combine, and in some situations, players seeking to return to school will find their scholarship slots filled by someone else. However, it's also not appropriate for the NCAA to impede that pursuit, and some of these rules have previously been so outdated that they interfered with making the best decisions. The NCAA says that will save time since investigators would no longer have to independently confirm information outlined by other agencies or outside investigations.
The changes also include requiring school presidents and athletics staff to commit "contractually" to cooperate fully with investigations, stiffer penalties for violations and regulation of the summer recruiting circuit. Agents often get a bad rap as pragmatists and manipulators; they serve a necessary and appropriate role in this process.