Changes to the NCAA rulebook

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The NCAA made some pretty significant changes to their rulebook today. Since we al love bullet points:

– Conferences are allowed to vote to add $2,000 worth of full cost-of-attendance money to their scholarship offers.

– Schools are now allowed to offer multi-year scholarships. Previously, they were offered on a one-year, renewable basis.

-The APR cutline has been increased from an average score of 900 over four years to 930. Schools that fail to qualify will be ineligible for the NCAA Tournament.

– The minimum GPA for incoming freshmen will now be 2.3, while it will increase to 2.5 for JuCo transfers.

-There are a slew of new recruiting rules, including the deregulation of text messaging and a change in the summer recruiting schedule, reducing the July live period to 12 days and bringing back a live period in April.

– Coaches will be allowed to work with their players during the summer, although the precise details of how that will work have yet to be determined.

– Financial aid will now be available to former athletes who decide to return to school to finish their degree once their eligibility has been used up.

Overall, these changes are a step in the right direction for the NCAA, who entire release can be found here.

I’m not going to go into too much detail here — especially on the recruiting front, as we touched on these changes last week — but there are some details that need to be highlighted.

First and foremost, UConn. The Huskies are the reigning national champions. There is a very real chance that they will be able to repeat this year. But the way the current rules are written, UConn will be ineligible to compete in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Per the AP, UConn’s APR score in 2009-2010 was 826. The school is projecting that score to be 975 for 2010-2011. That gives them a two-year average of 900.5 and a four-year average of 888.5. To qualify for the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the Huskies would need a two-year score of 930 or a four-year score of 900.

That fate is not set in stone just yet. The Hartford Courant’s Don Amore, the Husky beat writer, speculated on Monday that there will be some form of an improvement waiver, where schools that don’t qualify for the new standards can prove they are getting better and redeem their eligibility. As Mark Emmert said, “We need to act with some dispatch.”

The other change worth noting here is the approval of multi-year scholarship offers. While its effect will likely be seen more in football, where over-recruiting has become an epidemic, this should even up the field a bit when it comes to recruiting. It won’t make much difference for the guys that are on the all-american level, as every school in the country will be offering them four-year scholarships. But it will make a difference for some of the players that are talented enough to be recruited by, but not necessarily play, the best programs in the country.

The way the system currently works is that a coach can run-off a player after a year or two if that player has underperformed expectations. Since his scholarship is renewable annually, the coach can simply tell the kid his scholarship won’t be renewed and he will have to transfer. But a lesser program will be able to offer that player a four-year scholarship, ensuring that he won’t be in danger of dealing with a forced transfer.

An example? Its early May, and a three-star center has his options down to Washington and St. Mary’s. Washington may have a scholarship available and a need for depth in the front court, if for nothing more than to have a body available for practice. The player can accept the scholarship from the Huskies and hope he doesn’t get recruited over, or he can choose to go to St. Mary’s, where he knows he will be playing for a team that will be in and around the top 25 and will be guaranteed a full-ride for four years.

The big schools won’t necessarily be hurt, but it will only be helpful for the mid-majors looking to bring in high-major talent.

I just look forward to hearing about how recruit sign a four-year deal.

Because its all just a business transaction, right?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.