The pros, cons of latest NCAA changes

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

The NCAA made major rule changes on Aug. 8, one of which was that college basketball players and elite high school players are now allowed to hire an agent who is certified by the NCAA, according to the organization’s website. Another main rule change they made was allowing college basketball players that enter the NBA Draft to return to college if they are not selected.

The latest rule changes came in wake of the FBI investigation into college basketball, when coaches, administrators, agents and shoe companies were caught paying off athletes thousands of dollars, according to Sports Illustrated. One of the biggest cases in the investigation deals with former Louisville and South Carolina forward Brian Bowen. Bowen was banned for playing college basketball after the NCAA discovered his father accepted payments offered from Adidas, Louisville and other college and AAU programs.

The rule change will try to limit corruption in college sports, which has been a problem for decades. When I look closely at the NCAA rule changes, I can point out a lot of pros and cons.

Arguably, the biggest benefit is the fact that college players are allowed to return to school if they go undrafted in the NBA Draft. Over the years, players were forced to make the difficult choice of staying in school or going pro. A lot of players have ruined their basketball careers leaving school too early without a way to go back if they aren’t drafted. Players were forced to play overseas, which is less fulfilling than playing in the NBA.

Now, players can go through the entire draft process and see whether their name is called on draft night before making a decision on whether they want to return to college or not.

Giving athletes the ability to hire an agent is also beneficial, as it will allow them to gain knowledge and guidance on the business before they begin their professional career. Agents will be able to talk and negotiate with professional teams, and then use the information given to them to inform players on what the best career route is.

One problem that comes with this latest rule change is that it does not address the issue on whether or not student athletes should get paid. College athletics is a billion dollar industry and coaches are getting multi-million dollar contracts. However, athletes still aren’t getting paid, even though schools are making tons of money off of them.

Another problem with the NCAA rule change is that it only applies to male college basketball players and elite male high school prospects, according to Sports Illustrated. Female basketball players, whether they are playing in college or high school, are not allowed to get represented by agents. In other words, the top college and high school female players cannot receive the same level of professional guidance for their basketball careers. Players considering to play in the WNBA could use advice from an agent just as much as potential NBA players.

The new rule changes are a step in the right direction, but it is a long way from ending corruption in the NCAA.