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Who cares about the players? NCAA kills testing draft waters.

Apr 29, 2011, 11:46 AM EDT

Arizona v Duke Getty Images

I thought colleges were about helping students with guidance and some expertise when making life-changing decisions.

But not if your college basketball player.

The NCAA approved a ridiculous rule that moves the deadline day for a college player to declare for the draft up to the day before the spring National Letter of Intent signing period. This year that would have been April 12. One week after the national championship game.

So good luck college baller, you have eight days to gather information, talk to reliable sources and find out whether you should pull out of college and enter the NBA draft or not. Biggest decision of your life. But be sure to rush it.

Who this benefits is coaches, who learn earlier who they need to replace. It also benefits universities and their free labor sources.

Before you start making the “they are getting a free education” argument, we are not talking about 95 percent of college basketball players here. For the vast majority of guys playing college basketball, going on to the NBA is not really an option (a dream, sure, but not a reality). For them, they are staying in school and getting their education (hopefully, but that’s another issue).

But the 100 or so top players — the best players at their schools, the guys the universities make the most money on in terms of ticket sales, jersey sales and more — whether or not to declare for the draft is a huge decision. Frankly, it’s a much easier decision if you are Kyrie Irving or someone who every legitimate source says is a top pick or near it.

But for the guy who has some people around him saying he’s a lottery pick while others are saying he might not get drafted, the guy getting pressured by people at the university to stay, some time to work out for and talk to NBA scouts and front office people and get an honest assessment is key. It’s the difference in making a smart informed decision or leaving a college student to guess at his future.

We thought that colleges were about helping students make educated decisions. But not the NCAA, not when its own self-interests are involved.

  1. LPad - Apr 29, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    This wouldn’t be a problem if the players could interact with their potential future employers. Every semester on most college campuses there is a job fair where students are able to interact with potential future employers. However, basketball players can’t interact with NBA execs or scouts. Simply, unfair unless you believe a player can’t benefit from having a conversation with Pat Riley or Danny Ainge about their game. Obviously, the NCAA does. The funny thing is 99.9 percent of the conversations will be “you’re not ready, you really need to work on X” or “you probably won’t be drafted so you would be better off going back to school”

    • flapjack3285 - Apr 29, 2011 at 2:03 PM

      That’s the NBA’s rule, not the NCAA. Remember JayZ got investigated?

      • LPad - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:07 PM

        That’s true, but you would think that the NCAA knowing this would either ask the NBA to change this rule or they would give the players more time to make a decision and interact with NBA personnel during the times the NBA has designated that NBA personnel can interact with the players. Instead of telling the players to rely on information provided in mock drafts or coaches that may not have the players best interest at heart. Especially, given that the NBA only has this rule because it wants to protect the college game.

  2. sknut - Apr 29, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    I feel its going to make both games worse, guys will feel pressure earlier and make rash decisions. The NCAA only looks out for itself, why not work with the NBA to figure out a fair system for everyone involved.

  3. goforthanddie - Apr 29, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Someone signs a 4-year scholarship, they should be expected to honor it. College is for education, not another NBA D-League. Want to leave early? Go, don’t ask me if it’s a good idea.

    • sknut - Apr 29, 2011 at 2:10 PM

      While thats true its not as simple as that. Most times college students have the chance to gauge their workplace value and stay in school if that is the right decision, the NCAA is making it a lot harder on the students to do this.

      • goforthanddie - Apr 29, 2011 at 2:53 PM

        There are 69 listed early-entry candidates. That doesn’t include another 20 from the international early-entry pool. Or graduates/players out of college time. Or the regular international pool. All fighting for 60 draft spots. The point being, if you have to ask if you should go pro, the answer is no. A player should be able to set aside pride/ego and honestly tell himself he can’t go pro; that’s part of the maturity process. Besides, if you don’t get drafted, there are other pro leagues around the world. People can still get paid to do what they want, improve their skills against the next level of competition, and try for the NBA later.

    • yy85 - Apr 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM

      There is no such thing as a 4-year athletic scholarship, only one year scholarships renewable at the coach’s discretion. Every year there are players who are pushed off a team or pressured to transfer because their coach exceeded the NCAA limit for scholarships (see: Arizona basketball this year, Alabama football pretty much every year).

      You can hardly expect kids to “honor” a 4 year commitment when they’re only actually given 1 year guaranteed.

  4. savocabol1 - Apr 29, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    You make it sound like these guys have no clue what their stock value is until the last moment possible.

    Besides as you state in your article this gives 8 days after the national championship for the players to decide. Guess players from two teams out of 200 get “screwed” then. The majority of players will have plenty of time to make a decision.

    Finally, they are making a decision on whether they should continue to get a free education or to attempt to make millions of dollars. These kids really have it rough. Poor college athletes.

  5. sknut - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:15 PM


    I agree with your thoughts but I think teams tell players different things, some teams really feel they can develop a guy better during NBA practices than another year of college, the D-League also helps with this. I just think having as much knowledge is good for the kids, with the shorter deadline, more people are going to get into the kids heads telling them to go pro and then they don’t get drafted and yes they can play overseas but how many of them do we hear from again.

  6. bigtrav425 - Apr 30, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    The NCAA are nothing but a bunch of money hungry Nazi scumbags…and im going to always feel like that until shit changes!.Any person who works for them should be ashamed of themselves

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