Beginning in 2010, players who want to return to college will have until May 8th to renounce their NBA eligibility. The NCAA and the various "stakeholders" were all consulted. All believe this rule change will positively impact not only the game, but also the athletes. Of course, I still haven't heard from one college basketball player -- the ones most impacted by this rule -- who thinks this is a good rule change.
Yes, way too many underclass players put their name in the NBA draft, even if they do not have a legitimate chance to be selected. But that is not a fair justification to gut the rule. And neither are the other reasons cited...
The NCAA news release announcing the change provides the following rationale: "The shorter declaration period will assist coaches in roster planning and encourage student-athletes to refocus on academics before the draft and decrease the potential for amateurism rules violations."
Yes, it will help coaches in roster planning. However, the notion that this encourages players to "refocus on academics" is absurd. If anything, it accomplishes the exact opposite. At least with the later date, genuine student-athletes who are on the semester system can finish their academic year and then crisscross the country to workout for the NBA teams. Now that these workouts must take place prior to May 8th, look for even more players to struggle academically -- or simply drop out -- during the spring semester/quarter.
Also, it is laughable to suggest this will "decrease the potential for amateurism rules violations." As if the next amateurism rules violation would be their first.
But, wait. There's more.
"In addition, the proposal removes the option for draft entrants who are not selected to resume college eligibility. Student-athletes with eligibility remaining previously had up to 30 days after the draft to declare their intention to return."
In the event a player who remains in the NBA draft gets hurt after May 8, too bad. Where's the compassion? What happened to the "student-athlete first" model the NCAA was allegedly trumpeting?
Fine, change the rule to help college coaches firm up their rosters and protect college basketball in general. But don't sell us on the notion that this will help players academically or that this snakeoil will solve any ills in college basketball.
For some real snake oil, try some Bankruptcy Tonic...