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NCAA officially ratifies major changes due to FBI investigation

Michael McCann details how the NCAA rule changes will affect agents, college football players, and USA Basketball.

The college basketball rulebook is getting a significant makeover thanks to the FBI’s investigation into corruption in the sport over the course of the last three years.

On Wednesday, after months of discussion amongst rulemakers, media members and coaches about what the future of the sport looked like, the NCAA announced some sweeping changes to the way that the game operates.

The rule changes that you need to know about are as follows:

  • Elite prospects, as identified by USA Basketball, will be allowed to sign with an agent as of July 1st of their senior season in high school. College players can hire an agent after any season if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, but the agreement “must be terminated when the student enrolls in or returns to college.”
  • Anyone that declares for the NBA draft and does not hear their name called on draft night will be allowed to return to their former school without penalty.
  • Effective immediately, the NCAA and its Committee on Infractions can use information that is turned up by an outside entity for their own investigations. In other words, if there is a criminal investigation -- i.e. the one the Justice Department is currently pursuing -- then any documents that are turned up or anything that is said under oath during the course of the trial or the investigation is fair game for the NCAA.
  • The NCAA is also requiring all athletics staff, as well as school presidents and chancellors, to be contractually obligated to comply with any investigation into their program or their athletic department. The NCAA does not have subpoena power, and this is their effort to try and mitigate that issue.
  • The changes to the recruiting calendar, which was detailed here, will be put into effect.

Most of the changes that were listed here were recommendations that were made by Condoleeza Rice’s Commission on College Basketball in April.

“This week, we delivered on a promise made just months ago to make profound and meaningful changes to college basketball,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Ultimately, these decisions will support the success of student-athletes both on and off the court.”