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NCAA wants to do away with testing NBA draft waters

Apr 15, 2011, 10:29 AM EDT

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Butler v UConn Getty Images

For an organization that is supposed to look out for the best interest of student athletes, the NCAA really comes off as a money-grubbing pawn of school presidents and coaches, student-athletes be damned.

Right now, there are a number of college basketball players testing the NBA waters — they declare for the NBA draft but do not sign with an agent, work out for some teams and get honest feedback from clubs on where they would go in the draft. Then they make an informed choice about whether to return to college or jump into the NBA.

The NCAA wants to do away with that, according to Andy Katz at ESPN.

While guys are making announcements now, you cannot officially enter the draft and meet with teams until the last week of April. Under the current system, players have until May 8 to let their colleges know their plans. It used to be June, but you know how those poor, stressed college coaches needed more time to get their rosters together for the next winter.

So now players have two weeks between when they can start to talk to teams and when they have to make a final decision. This year NBA teams are working together on one massive workout (in New Jersey) so they can see all the prospects in one place and talk to them, to speed the process along.

What the NCAA is apparently going to approve calls for players to make their decision on the draft and inform schools by the start of the Spring signing period, this year April 10. So before they can declare for the draft and talk to teams. Basically, you have to say you want to be employed in the NBA without talking to anyone from the NBA under the new plan.

Players get terrible advice from guys trying to be agents, from friends and family, from all corners. Guys who will fall undrafted are told they are lottery picks. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not, good players get people trying to latch on to them with bad intentions (many of those players do not have the support system to know the good from the bad). Some kids who should have stayed in college, who would have stayed in, are going to come out then be shocked by reality. It’s best to let these guys test the NBA waters, hear directly from teams and paid scouts where they stand, where they’d be drafted, what they need to work on. Then they can make an informed decision.

We’re not talking about the Kryie Irvings and Derrick Williams lottery guys. We’re talking late first rounders, second rounders, guys who will go undrafted who need the honest feedback.

But it’s not about them. It’s about the coaches and school presidents looking to pressure kids into staying longer. It’s about the NCAA looking out for its interest, not what is best for the students. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

  1. LPad - Apr 15, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    And yet there are college job fairs held at least once a semester that let regular students (the ones that don’t earn the colleges millions upon millions of dollars) interact with potential employers, learn what the employers are looking for and where each student stands with their current qualifications/skill set.
    So essentially regular students can interact with future employers anytime they want, schools hold pro days every year so that NFL personnel and scouts can interact with the best players at a particular school all day (heck, some of coaches will run a player through individual workouts after the general workout)

    But basketball student athletes get one day to interact with the NBA and given that all the basketball players thinking of going pro that year will be there it will be a five to ten minute session. Yeah that’s totally fair.

    • flapjack3285 - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      You’re off on the NFL draft details. Players must enter their name into the draft sometime in January and then have 72 hours to decide if they want to stay in the draft. Pro days and the combine are not held until February, so they don’t get to interact with the drafting teams until then.

      However, there is an advisory board made up of scouts, GMs, etc that will tell a player where he can expected to get drafted. There have been some misses in the past, but they seem to do a pretty good job.

  2. dankyb - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    This is one of the most bias articles I have ever read. Why don’t you try some objectivity for once?

    • pdub923 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      Bias toward what? Doing the right thing? Helping students and not being greedy a**holes? Which college do you work for?

  3. gogators44 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Who cares! In college football, a student-athlete has only 1 week after the season ends to decide whether to turn pro or not; usually they will have completed three years of college before potentially leaving their college. These basketball ‘student’ athletes were having it too good in recent years – having almost 3 months (June) after the college basketball season ends to decide on whether to enter the draft or not while holding their college team, coach, etc. hostage to their choice. These freshmen/sophmores who were exploring their pro-potential were making a mockery of the pursuit of a college education – i.e, not satisfactorily completing their coursework during the basketball season. If you think that you are this hot-shot athlete that’s ready to be a first-rounder then leave early for the NBA draft or go play in another country and stop wasting everyone else’s time. These players can gather their information in the off-season and decide a year later (like their football counter-parts) on whether to turn pro or not. The ‘real’ student athlete will stay 3-4 years and improve upon his knowledge while pursuing his sport.

    Basketball recruiting is very tough; relationships between a player/family/coach have to be established over a long period of time (often years) before a given player commits to the school/coach. A coach has the necessary time to find whatever player(s) he needs in the early fall before the basketball season starts. Very few remaining athletes are available in the late signing period – most have already chosen their destinations. Signing the right type of player during this time is almost impossible without establishing a previous relationship. Often times when a student-athlete unexpectedly leaves early, that team is short-handed (personal wise) in the next season and does not perform up to their potential!

    • pdub923 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      Hostage? Really? They are kids and they know it’s about business and not academics. They have all been bribed by everyone they’ve ever met since they were in the 7th grade and now they are trying to make it to the next level. They have been brought up in such a confusing environment, having academic people tell them it’s about their education while coaches and administrators give them cars, houses, and passing report cards that say otherwise, I think they need more time to make the right decision for themselves and their families in regards to where they “take their talents”.

  4. rdssc - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    All the while baseball players get to talk to agents all day every day of their college career because agents are called advisers in the baseball world. College sports is and will always be the most corrupt business in America until the NCAA rewrites the rule book according to today’s world not the 1950s.

    • flapjack3285 - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      Ask James Paxton how that worked out for him. And don’t act like basketball players aren’t communicating with agents.

      • rdssc - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        I don’t know the specifics but at the end of the day it seemed to work out just fine for Paxton he was more than compensated for the time missed. I know very little about college baseball but I am pretty sure agents are allowed to talk to baseball players while the players are in college.
        Basketball and football players are thrown to the wolves if they are caught talking to an agent. It is just part of the backwards way of doing business for the NCAA.

        Removing the ability for players to visit teams and get a real understanding of where they will be drafted is just another backwards thinking move.

        Paxton wound up receiving a $942,500 signing bonus from the Mariners, according to Baseball America — more than the estimated $800,000 the M’s gave to their top pick in the same draft, pitcher Taijuan Walker (No. 43 overall). As Baseball America pointed out, Paxton’s bonus is more than four times MLB’s recommended amount of $209,700 for the 132nd overall pick — an indication of how highly the Mariners regard his potential.

  5. flapjack3285 - Apr 15, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Anyone can talk to an agent all day long. As soon as you agree to representation or they start negotiating on your behlaf, you are done. What happened in the Paxton case, is that the NCAA said his advisor had direct contact with the BlueJays in the negotiation, which is not allowed.

    http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Resources/Latest+News/2010+news+stories/July+latest+news/Overview+of+NCAA+bylaws+governing+athlete+agents

    Even though he did get a nice signing bonus, Paxton did take a tremendous risk. There have been several players who have gone to play independant baseball who plummet in the next draft or get injured and never make it to the majors (an even higher risk since he’s a pitcher).

    Basketball and football players that don’t want to deal with the NCAA can go play in the ABA or UFL. That being said, if they get rid of the early entry option, there definitely needs to be something else in place that would help these players out in making their decisions.

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