NCAA proposes later deadline for NBA Draft early entries to return to school

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The NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee officially sponsored a proposal to change the NBA Draft withdrawal date for college underclassmen, according to ESPN.com.

Currently, college underclassmen are required to remove their name from the NBA Draft a week after the Final Four comes to a close, which is nearly three weeks prior to the NBA’s deadline for declaring for the draft. There is, essentially, no process for testing the waters.

But the new proposal, which was reported back in March, college underclassmen will have until mid-to-late May — after the NBA’s Draft combine — to remove their name from consideration and still be allowed to retain their collegiate eligibility. This would allow the players that will potentially be drafted a chance to be evaluated by NBA front office personnel and given a more accurate picture of where they could end up getting selected. This isn’t a big deal for one-and-done prospects like Karl Towns and Jahlil Okafor, but for players that are expected to go anywhere from the late first round to undrafted, this will give them more complete information on which to make their decision.

This would not change the NBA’s late-April deadline for early entry or their withdrawal deadline, which is 10 days before the draft happens.

“This is a positive development for student-athletes exploring their professional dreams,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men’s basketball, said, per ESPN. “This would give prospects and their families more appropriate time and unbiased info from the NBA to make important decisions. And it would probably lead some to go back to school.”

Gavitt’s right. This is a terrific decision, one that will hopefully be passed in January. Originally, college players had until the NBA’s deadline to remove their name from draft consideration, but too many coaches were upset about the fact that their roster was in limbo through mid-June. If they lost a player to the professional ranks, there was not going to be anyone available to replace him. The deadline was moved to early May and, eventually, to a week after the Final Four.

If the proposal is passed in January, the changes will be made effective immediately, meaning that the 2016 NBA Draft class will be the first to operate under the new timeline.