College basketball to allow undrafted players to return to school, among many other changes

In September, the FBI announced its investigation into fraud surrounding college basketball. In April, a Commission on College Basketball suggested changes. And on Wednesday, the NCAA’s Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors followed through in implementing a number of them.

Here is a quick synopsis of the changes to college basketball’s rulebook:

Players who go undrafted can return to college basketball

The NCAA’s most notable change revolves around flexibility for those wanting to test the NBA draft waters. Players who are invited to the NBA draft combine will be able to participate in the NBA draft and return to college if undrafted.

During this time, Division I schools must pay for tuition, fees and books for those who left school, according to the report. Not to mention, the NCAA is establishing a fund for schools that aren’t able to pay for these items.

‘Elite’ high school basketball recruits and college players can sign with agents

The first question surrounding this change was, what defines elite? That remains unclear. Some of have said USA Basketball could select them, but that has not been confirmed.

Regardless, to “make informed decisions about going pro,” according to the report, high school basketball recruits and college players will be able to sign agents. This change will go into effect once the NBA and NBAPA allow high school players to turn professional.

Once they do, players will be able to sign with agents July 1 before their senior years.

NCAA to pursue agreement with apparel companies 

Apparel companies have major roles in summer basketball on the AAU circuit. There is an Adidas league, a Nike League and an Under Armour league.

Because of the involvement — highlighted by the arrest of Adidas’ Jim Gatto in September — the NCAA is pursuing an agreement with apparel companies regarding their involvement in youth basketball.

It is unclear how close the NCAA is to an agreement or the likelihood of one. But the connection between prospective student-athletes and apparel brands has been long known.

School presidents and staff must cooperate during investigations

Not only will university presidents and chancellors be “personally accountable” for their programs following the rules, but they will also have contractual obligations to cooperate during investigations.

This could allow the NCAA subpoena power during investigations. According to the release, it could also lead to “stronger penalties,” including longer postseason bans and head coach suspensions, increased recruiting restrictions and additional fines.

NCAA implements changes following Commission on College Basketball recommendations, including allowing undrafted players to return to college and “elite” players to sign with agents. (AP Photo)

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