Each June, Charlottesville becomes the temporary home to many of the top college basketball prospects in the country when the NBPA Top 100 camp comes to John Paul Jones Arena.
Everything about the event screams college basketball. The top prospects, many with top Division I offers, are playing in the home venue of the nation’s No. 1 team. Pretty much every player at the camp will see their next step at the college level.
But up until Wednesday, the event was closed off to college coaches. Now, because of sweeping reforms announced by the NCAA, the Top 100 camp, among other similar events, will be open to college coaches.
The rules are based off of the Rice Commission report from April, which suggested several of the changes that were announced on Wednesday.
“I’m pleased the NCAA Board of Directors made the decision to implement the recommendations of Dr. [Condoleezza] Rice and the Commission on College Basketball beginning this fall,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “This is another step that is critical to the future success and integrity of college basketball. It’s important to be mindful that we won’t reach perfection; however, we can’t let that stand in the way of significant progress. I’m sure there will be unintended consequences as we move forward, and we’ll need to evaluate and perhaps make adjustments along the way, but these are necessary actions that should enhance the culture within the sport.”
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was unavailable for comment on the rule changes, per a team spokesman.
Here’s a look at the specific rules changes, all per the NCAA’s official release.
Undrafted players can return to school
It was only several years ago that the NCAA allowed players to declare for the NBA Draft, then opt to return to college prior to the draft if they hadn’t hired an agent within 10 days of the NBA Combine’s conclusion. Now players’ rights in this area will expand greatly.
Athletes can enter the NBA Draft and return to the school without penalty should they go undrafted. This is a significant step, meaning basically any player can enter the NBA Draft any season.
This past season, UVa forward De’Andre Hunter elected not to test the NBA Draft waters. And there’s no reason to think that if the new rule had been in place, he would have gone. But it’s safe to say that this new rule will encourage more players attempt to play professionally earlier on in their career.
The new rules also require institutions to pay for tuition, fees and books for students that left and then returned.
Elite prep athletes can hire agents
Agents certified by NCAA-sanctioned programs can represent elite high school athletes and guide them through the process of becoming a professional player.
This issue was at the center of the FBI investigation. It basically involved agents allegedly making backdoor deals with players and colleges to attend certain schools and agree to use them for representation later on.
With this new rule, it’s unclear exactly who might qualify for this representation and how the representation works.