NCAA closes NBA draft window sooner
INDIANAPOLIS -- College basketball players who declare early for the NBA draft will still get to work out for teams.
They'll just have to do everything much sooner next season.
On Thursday, the NCAA's board of directors approved a measure requiring players to withdraw from the draft by May 8 instead of the current June 15, a move that was supported by several key constituencies for different reasons.
College coaches wanted the change to give them additional time to restructure their teams. School presidents were concerned about potentially serious academic ramifications, and one NBA official thinks the extra time isn't entirely necessary anyway.
This change creates some unique challenges for compliance, too.
The NBA's collective bargaining agreement requires the list of players pulling out of the draft to be released in mid-June. That won't change until the league reaches a new CBA with the players association after the 2010-11 season.
But if a player decides to pull out of the draft, Division I vice president David Berst said he must still notify the NCAA by May 8. The legislation does not establish how it will be done.
"Rest assured it will be communicated," Berst said during a conference call. "The manner by which it is communicated still has to be determined. They'll have to opt out of the draft to our satisfaction and that remains to be interpreted to some degree."
Berst said the NBA is assisting with the change.
The league agreed to move up the date for individual workouts from early June to April 30, giving college players a little more than a week to improve their draft stock. The workout dates are not part of the CBA.
But this may only be the start of a broader discussion.
Atlantic Coast Conference officials had proposed moving the cutoff date to mid-April, when the spring signing period opens each year. The legislative council approved the compromise date after seeking the advice of NBA officials and the NBA Players Association. Those groups and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Berst said, have agreed to meet with NCAA officials to find a better resolution.
The board also rescinded a provision that gave undrafted underclassmen 30 days to announce whether they would return to school, and it could change again before next year's NBA draft.
"A number of things would have to occur, but that could be accomplished if there is sufficient interest in getting that done," Berst said.
Berst acknowledged school presidents expressed concern over having the NBA workouts occur late in the spring semester when many schools are finishing classes and preparing for final exams and could have an impact on a team's Academic Progress Rate and Graduation Success Rate.
Coaches, who are increasingly talking about academic success because of the potential penalties levied by the NCAA on underperforming teams, also worry.
"I don't think you can have any situation where players are missing classes, and I'm all for chasing the dream," Indiana coach Tom Crean said Thursday.
"When Dwyane Wade was going to be [drafted] between 5 and 13, there was no question he should go. But you're very hamstrung when people are leaving and their grades aren't intact. I just don't think you can have anybody leave and have days on end doing workouts."
In other action, the board rejected a proposal that would have reduced the baseball schedule from 56 to 52 games but approved a measure that will add one week at the start of the season. The NCAA hopes that by spreading out games over more weeks, it will reduce missed class time in a sport that has traditionally scored low on the APR and GSR.
President Myles Brand, who is fighting advanced pancreatic cancer, spoke briefly on the conference call but did not discuss his health.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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