If the NCAA cares about its student athletes, it has a funny way of showing it.
The D-I Legislative Council approved Wednesday a measure that would force college basketball players to withdraw from the NBA draft before the first day of the spring signing period.
In simple terms: if it took place this year, instead of having until May 8 to make a decision, players would’ve had to decide Tuesday. Next year, they’ll have to decide by April 10.
Yes, that’s absurd.
Contrast that with the NBA’s deadline to enter one’s name in the draft. This year, it’s April 24. And they can withdraw by June 13. But that only affects international players.
The NCAA says the proposed rule change is intended to help players focus on academics during the spring semester, but that’s so disingenuous it’s worthy of a four-letter rant that I can’t provide here. We’re a family friendly site.
Instead, it’s to help coaches spend their Aprils by going fishing or golfing or whatever else they choose instead of helping their players make the best possible decision for their future. It’s completely ridiculous, unfair and self-serving.
(If the NCAA cared so much about academics, why do those same basketball players spend nearly all of March out of the classroom? Oh, right. It’s so they can fund 90 percent of the organization’s revenue.)
And I’m hardly the only one who thinks this. Coaches also have doubts.
Butler’s Brad Stevens and Memphis’ Josh Pastner both told ESPN.com that it didn’t help players. Those remarked were echoed by Maryland’s Gary Williams.
“I just worry too many players will go in with the idea they’re not sure,” Williams told ESPN.com. “But every player thinks they can play their way into the draft if they’re on the edge. For the basketball players, it’s a little quick to make that decision, especially after the NCAA tournament. If you have a tough loss, it’s not enough time to calm down and make a good decision.”
If that’s not enough, one of the few coaches who usually advocates for his players to go pro isn’t in favor of it. If that’s not an indicator, I don’t know what is.
“All this stuff: For the good of college basketball? This should be about these kids,” Kentucky coach John Calipari told Sporting News. “They’ve done their good for college basketball. This should be about, ‘How can we help these kids make a good decision?’ ”
The one bright spot in all this? The rule isn’t official yet. The NCAA Board of Directors will vote on the rule on April 28. Here’s hoping common sense prevails.
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