The NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee has proposed a significant rule change that would allow undergraduate basketball players to return to school and resume their playing careers after initialing declaring their eligibility for the NBA draft. This proposed amendment is a drastic change from existing NCAA rules which prevent a student-athlete from returning to school and resuming his collegiate basketball career once he has filed for NBA draft eligibility.
Under the proposed rule change, underclassmen who have initially elected to make themselves eligible for the NBA draft would be permitted to attend the NBA’s pre-draft combine in May and receive a personal evaluation of their projected draft status by NBA personnel. The player then would be able to review and assess the feedback he received and potentially withdraw from NBA draft consideration and protect their remaining collegiate eligibility. If adopted, the NCAA will establish a withdrawal deadline date consistent with the proposal.
The NBA still would maintain an early draft entry deadline for underclassmen in late-April and a projected withdrawal date from draft consideration of 10 days before the draft, consistent with the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement before the NBA and its Players Association.
The NBA and the NCAA worked together on this proposal to address the increasing number of underclassmen who have elected to make themselves eligible for the NBA draft. Currently, 47 of the players who have elected early eligibility for the NBA draft are from college programs. Since the NBA draft allows a team to select a total of 60 players during its two-round draft process, a number of players who elected to leave college early likely will not be drafted. These undrafted players have limited options to continue their careers overseas or in the NBA’s development league. However, they do not have the option of returning to college and resuming their careers.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, chairperson of the NCAA’s men’s basketball oversight committee that drafted the proposed rule change, explained that the change will be in place for the 2016 NBA draft if it is adopted by the NCAA during a scheduled vote expected to occur in a January 2016 meeting.