NCAA

What you need to know about the unprecedented NCAA basketball rules changes

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USA TODAY Sports

What you need to know about the unprecedented NCAA basketball rules changes

On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA made a major announcement some twenty years in the making.

The NCAA announced plans to take major action to clean up and reorganize the college basketball recruiting and draft structure, on the platform of promoting integrity and strengthening accountability.

The unveiling of the action plan is in response to the suggestions made by the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on Basketball, a governing body of 14 educators, government officials and former administrators whose goal was to address and find solutions to the major fundamental issues plaguing college basketball. 

The recommendations the NCAA will implement is as follows (You can read the entire plan right here):

Recruiting and Draft Changes:

— College basketball players will be able to participate in the NBA Draft and return to school if undrafted, pending further action from the NBA and NBPA.

— Division I programs will be required to pay for tuition, fees, and books for men's and women's college basketball player who leave school and return to the same school to earn their degree.

— High school basketball recruits and college players tabbed as "Elite" by USA Basketball will be allowed agent representation if the agent is NCAA-certified.

— High school basketball recruits will be allowed to make more frequent campus visits paid for by the school. The visits will be allowed to take place at the start of the summer before their junior year.

— Four open days in April will be added to the Spring recruiting calendar.

— College coaches will be allowed to attend recruiting events during the last two weekends in June, pending approval from the National High School Federations.

— College coaches will also be allowed to attend an additional weekend event in July as well as the NBPA Top 100 camp in June. 

What does it mean?

Well for starters, the NCAA is only allowing high school seniors what have been deemed "elite" by USA Basketball will be allowed to hire agents. What about someone like R.J. Barrett, Duke-bound No. 1 overall recruit in the Class of 2018? Barrett is a native of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and despite playing high school basketball for Montverde Academy in Florida, is not part of the USA Basketball program. Therefore, under the new NCAA rule, the top high school recruit would not be able to sign an agent because he does not participate with USA Basketball. 

The NCAA's implementations are a step in the right direction but still are yet to lack real substance. 

The high school players deemed "elite" enough to hire agents are unlikely to ever play in college, and the college players deemed "elite" enough to hire agents are historically unlikely to return to school. What this means is that the news of players being able to hire agents is more noise than signal.

Allowing undrafted players to return to school is an incredible change that is both pro-athlete and pro-education. But in only allowing that to players who attend the NBA Combine undercuts the rule change in totality. In most cases, players who attend the NBA Combine but go undrafted get an opportunity to participate in the NBA Summer League. 

In fact, if the rules were in place for the 2018 NBA Draft, only six of the players who went undrafted would be able to return to school: Arizona's Rawle Alkins and Allonzo Trier, Duke's Trevon Duval, Kansas' Malik Newman, UNLV's Brandon McCoy, and former Louisville commit Brian Bowen. 

More window-dressing, less real change.

NCAA Enforcement Changes:

— Administrators charged with investigating and resolving NCAA cases can accept established information from courts of law, government agency, an accrediting body or university-authorized commissions. 

— Schools and the NCAA will be allowed to work together toward a resolution on matters, reducing legal fees and minimizing drawn-out disputes.

— The NCAA intends to impose stronger penalties, including longer postseason bans, longer head coach suspension and increased recruiting restrictions. 

— The NCAA will appoint two independent groups to oversee the investigation and resolution of cases defined as "complex." Multiple parties will be able to request that a case is deemed "complex."

— Athletic administrators, as well as school presidents and chancellor, will be contractually obligated to comply with any investigation into their program or athletic department.

What does it mean?

This biggest revelation is that the NCAA is opening itself up to working with outside agencies to establish information. In short, the NCAA will be able to use information gathered by an entity like the FBI for a case without having to do the investigating itself.

This is a major step in the right direction for the NCAA but also provides the governing body with great power.

In addition, the NCAA will force the school administrators to "commit contractually to full cooperation in the investigations and infractions process."

What this means is that the NCAA is attempting to implement the power of subpoena, by proxy. That is a major step toward the NCAA wielding great power in investigations and enforcement.

The Wednesday news has the potential to be an industry-changer, but there is a cadre of unresolved issues and questions that went unanswered.

If you were hoping the NCAA rectified its past mistakes and turned the model of amateur athletics on its head, you will have to keep the faith. 

Yes, the changes being implemented are good for the sport. But nothing the NCAA announced will eliminate the widespread college basketball issues exposed by the FBI investigation. 

College football AP Top 25 Poll: LSU soars, Virginia Tech stays put

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USA TODAY Sports

College football AP Top 25 Poll: LSU soars, Virginia Tech stays put

LSU surged to No. 6 in The Associated Press college football poll after its second victory of September against a highly ranked team, and Wisconsin tumbled to No. 18 after becoming the first top-10 team to be upset by an unranked team.

Top-ranked Alabama strengthened its hold on No. 1 on Sunday , receiving a season-high 58 first-place votes from the media panel. Clemson slipped out of the No. 2 spot for the first time this season. Georgia moved up a spot to second behind the Crimson Tide, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the ranking. Clemson is third with three first-place votes, followed by No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Oklahoma.

LSU has now gone from No. 25 to start the season to No. 6 in three weeks.

The Tigers beat Miami, the preseason No. 8, in Week 1 in Arlington, Texas, and then knocked off Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn slipped from No. 7 to No. 9.

Wisconsin's loss to BYU was Saturday's most surprising result. The Badgers were three-touchdown favorites but missed a last-second field goal to tie and lost 24-21 in Madison. The Big Ten had five teams in the top 14 to begin the seasons and three (Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin) have already lost.

BYU's reward was being ranked No. 25.

PAC-12 SLOP

The Big Ten drew a lot of attention for having a rough Saturday, with half the league losing nonconference games. The Pac-12, more specifically the Pac-12 South, also had a rough one -- though much of the damage was done after a lot of East of the Mississippi bedtimes.

Southern California fell out of the ranking after its second straight loss, a thumping at Texas. The Trojans have now been outscored 54-17 the last two weeks. Arizona State also fell from the ranking when it could not back up its nice home win against Michigan State, losing at San Diego State.

Within the conference, Utah was beaten at home by Pac-12 North power No. 10 Washington, thwarting the Utes' chances of being ranked. UCLA dropped to 0-3 under Chip Kelly and Arizona finally managed to get coach Kevin Sumlin a victory -- by beating Southern Utah of the FCS.

Colorado is the lone unbeaten Pac-12 South team. Looks bleak, but just two seasons ago the landscape was similar for the division. After opening-week losses by USC and UCLA to start 2016, the Pac-12 South had no ranked teams. Ultimately, Colorado, the eventual Pac-12 South champ, and Utah moved into the ranking and finished in the Top 25. USC made a late-season surge behind Sam Darnold, too.

UP

The other big mover in the right direction this week was Oklahoma State. The Cowboys jumped nine spots to No. 15 after an impressive 44-21 victory against Boise State, which tumbled out of the rankings after being No. 17.

Oklahoma State began the season unranked after being ranked at the end of the last three seasons.

IN

Three teams moved into the ranking for the first time this season, with Boston College making its return to the Top 25 for the first time since 2008.

The Eagles beat Wake Forest on Thursday night to improve to 3-0 behind a dynamic offense led by running back A.J. Dillon and blossoming quarterback Anthony Brown. BC has not won more than seven games since 2009. The 2008 team won nine and the ACC Atlantic Division but was last ranked on Nov. 30 of that year.

-- No. 22 Texas A&M is ranked for the first time since November 2016.

-- No. 25 BYU is ranked for the first time since September 2015.

CONFERENCE CALL

The SEC has the top two teams in the AP poll for the 23rd time since 2006. Alabama was either No. 1 or 2 in all of those. The conference with the next most 1-2 appearances in the poll since 2006 is the Big Ten with eight.

SEC -- 6.

Big Ten -- 5.

Big 12 -- 4.

ACC -- 4.

Pac-12 -- 3.

Independent -- 2.

American -- 1.

Week 4 College Football AP Top 25

1. Alabama 3-0 (58 votes, no change from last week)

2. Georgia 3-0 (No. 3 last week)

3. Clemson 3-0 (3 votes, No. 2 last week)

4. Ohio State 3-0 (No change from last week)

5. Oklahoma 3-0 (No change from last week)

6. LSU 3-0 (No. 12 last week)

7. Stanford 3-0 (No. 9 last week)

8. Notre Dame 3-0 (No change from last week)

9. Auburn 2-1 (No. 7 last week)

T-10. Penn State 3-0 (No. 11 last week)

T-10. Washington 2-1 (No change from last week)

12. West Virginia 2-0 (No. 14 last week)

13. Virginia Tech 2-0 (No change from last week)

14. Mississippi State 3-0 (No. 16 last week)

15. Oklahoma State 3-0 (No. 24 last week)

16. UCF 2-0 (No. 18 last week)

17. TCU 2-1 (No. 15 last week)

18. Wisconsin 2-1 (No. 6 last week)

19. Michigan 2-1 (No change from last week)

20. Oregon 3-0 (No change from last week)

21. Miami 2-1 (No change from last week)

22. Texas A&M 2-1 (Not ranked last week)

23. Boston College 3-0 (Not ranked last week)

24. Michigan State 1-1 (No. 25 last week)

25. BYU 2-1 (Not ranked last week)

Dropped from the rankings: Boise State, USC, Arizona State

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS

Week 3 CFB Picks: Trust Vegas, not your head

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USA Today

Week 3 CFB Picks: Trust Vegas, not your head

Every week, the boys in the desert come out with lines on football games.

Every week, we think we can beat Vegas. 

This is your weekly reminder... Las Vegas is smarter than you.

Hawai'i (3-0) at Army (1-1) 

Is that Colt Brennan? No. It's Cole McDonald. Through three games, the Rainbow Warrior QB leads the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns (13). If you stayed up late on Labor Day weekend, you watched McDonald (and his awesome hair) torch Navy's secondary for 429 yards and six touchdowns. With three wins, Hawai'i has already matched its win total from 2017.

After opening up the season with a 20-point loss at Duke, Army responded by rushing for 449 yards against Liberty en route to a 38-14 victory.

The triple option is always challenging to prepare for but the Rainbow Warriors faced it just two weeks ago.

This seems like a pretty evenly matched game. I think most people would lean towards Hawai'i getting the win.

Wait. What? Army is -7?? How is that possible?

Kickoff is at noon ET on Saturday in West Point, NY. That's 6 a.m. Hawai'i time! The last time Hawai'i played a noon ET kick was in 2016. The result? A 63-3 loss at Michigan.

The play: Army -7

Vanderbilt (2-0) at #8 Notre Dame (2-0)

On Labor Day weekend, Notre Dame impressed the college football world with a 24-17 win over the Mighty Michigan Harbaugh’s. Last Saturday, not as impressive. The Irish needed to recover an onsides kick to ensure a 24-16 victory over Ball State. Yes, you read that right. To ensure a 24-16 victory over Ball State. Notre Dame was a five-touchdown favorite! QB Brandon Wimbush looked quite shaky against the Cardinals throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns. (If you were wondering, Ball State was picked to finish last MAC West Division.)

Vanderbilt hasn’t been really tested yet but the Commodores have been impressive in wins over Middle Tennessee State (35-7) and Nevada (41-10).

Notre Dame is a two-touchdown favorite this Saturday. Why will the Irish win by double digits against Vanderbilt when they haven’t done that in either of the first two games this season?

Two reasons.

  1. ESPN’s Paul Finebaum put Notre Dame on upset watch
  2. US News ranked Vanderbilt (#14) higher than Notre Dame (#18) on their most recent “Top Universities” list

If that isn't enough motivation... I don't know what is?

The Play: Notre Dame -13.5

#12 LSU (2-0) at #7 Auburn (2-0)

Nothing like an early season SEC West showdown.

Both LSU and Auburn followed up impressive Week 1 victories (LSU over Miami, Auburn beat Washington) with blowout wins over FCS opponents.

So doesn’t Auburn -10.5 seem rather high? The public seems to think so. They love the Bayou Bengals to cover.

Let’s try to think this one out.

The home team has won this matchup each of the last five years. Advantage: Auburn

The last two years this game has been decided by less than a touchdown. Advantage: LSU

LSU’s QB Joe Burrow is making his first career road start. Advantage: Auburn

Gus Malzahn wears sweater vests. Advantage: LSU

Ed Orgeron says he has 8-10 energy drinks per day. Advantage: ???

The math seems pretty even. I think it comes down to this…

Vegas knows something we don’t.

The Play: Auburn -10.5

Other games to make money on 

#21 Miami at Toledo (+11.5)

Rutgers (+2.5) at Kansas

Florida State (-3) at Syracuse

Georgia Southern (+31.5) at #2 Clemson

#17 Boise State (+1.5) at #24 Oklahoma State

Missouri at Purdue (+5.5)

New Mexico at New Mexico State (+3)

#10 Washington at Utah (+5)

#23 Arizona State at San Diego State (+5.5)