As the scope of the college basketball landscape changes, more and more players with remaining eligibility are declaring for the NBA draft every year. A record number of players declared themselves eligible for the draft last season, and the NBA is preparing for that number to increase significantly again this year.
Last offseason, significant changes were made to the NBA draft process. For the first time ever, NCAA players were allowed to hire agents to assist them in the draft process. The changes came in order to provide the athletes with greater knowledge of their true value to professional teams, much more than what a coach or parent could provide. Also, the new rules were created to help counteract the large number of high-level NBA prospects that were previously working with agents without NCAA approval.
With the current college basketball season nearing its end, the NCAA released a memo to its coaches earlier this month to help outline the new rule changes in regards to players signing with an agent.
Under the new guidelines, players must submit their names for an evaluation from the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee (UAC) before they are allowed to be represented by an agent. In order for the player to remain eligible for a return to college, those agents must be NBPA certified.
Once they officially sign with an agent, players can only accept the following benefits: transportation, lodging and meals related to meeting with the agent or conducting workouts with NBA teams. Agents are not allowed to pay for training, nutritionists or other services by professionals. Players also cannot miss class to participate in private workouts with NBA teams.
In addition, the UAC will now provide written feedback to players and their coaches, starting on April 1st. The feedback is gathered by sending NBA executives a series of emails with a list of names and requesting their team’s assessment of players’ draft stock. The player is then informed of the NBA executives’ responses, ranging from likely lottery pick to undrafted.
If a player receives a conditional combine invitation or a G League Elite Camp invitation, they may conduct workouts with their college coaches to prepare for these events. However, players are restricted to a maximum of four hours per day and 20 hours per week of workouts leading up to the combine.
To return to school, players must withdraw from the NBA draft by May 29. Those who do withdraw must terminate their representation agreements before enrolling in the next academic term.
While all these rule changes seem to be in favor of college athletes, in typical NCAA fashion, they’re all extremely complicated, ambiguous and ever changing. There are still some ridiculous restrictions on what a player can and can’t do in the new rules.
Having an agent who can assist the player should provide a greater understanding of the entire process for everyone involved, but we’ll see how it actually goes once the season is officially over.