Self reacts to recent NCAA changes



August 11, 2018 - 4:00 AM

Kansas head coach Bill Self directs his players during the second half March 17 versus Seton Hall in Wichita. LAWRENCE JOURAL WORLD/NICK KRUG

College Basketball: Kansas Jayhawks

The NCAA’s Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors on Wednesday adopted rules changes to college basketball that allow players to hire agents, let undrafted players return to school and alter the recruiting model.

The changes — which include allowing players who attend the NBA combine to return to college if undrafted, allowing elite college players and recruits to be represented by certified agents while still playing, increasing the number of campus visits for prep prospects and adding recruiting events in June to involve high school coaches and their teams — certainly will be much discussed in coming weeks.

“I think they are significant changes and there are some that certainly if you look at it from a nonpartisan way, I do think there are some legitimate concerns about some of them, but we don’t know enough about it yet to know exactly how it’ll all play out,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, who, as a member of the NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee, was involved in the process of considering the recommendations of Condoleezza Rice’s independent commission on how to solve some of the issues facing college basketball.

“Did something need to be done? I think in the eyes of many, certainly something needed to be done,” Self added. “I am actually one that felt there could be changes that could be positive. I also think that’s the way it is with everything when you are dealing with the NCAA. Very rarely do you find anything 100 percent exactly the way you would personally see it and you could always tweak it. I did think some changes could be made that could be very positive for our game.”

It has been decided by the NCAA that college basketball players who request an evaluation by an undergraduate advisory committee, participate in the NBA combine and enter the NBA draft yet are not drafted, will be allowed to return to school as long as they notify their athletic director of their intent by 5 p.m. the Monday after the draft.

This change, the NCAA said, is effective, “If/when the NBA and NBPA make an expected rule change, which would make undrafted student-athletes who return to college after the draft ineligible for the NBA until the end of the next college basketball season.”

Also, college players will be allowed to be represented by an agent “beginning after any season if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.”

“I think in theory it sounds very good,” Self said of undrafted players being allowed to return to school. “Still a lot of it needs to be played out exactly how the NBA will handle certain things. Is the one-and-done going to be a thing of the past or when will it be a thing of the past?”

Self stressed that not all players would be allowed to go through the draft process and return if undrafted.

“There’s only certain kids that would be eligible to do that. Those would be the individuals who would also be invited to the combine. Not just anybody could do that. It would only be the ones considered to be potential NBA draft prospects,” Self said. “That will be dictated in some way by whether it be a combine invitation, by something the NBA comes up with. It won’t be open where anybody can go to the draft and anybody can come back. It will have some limitations to that. I think it will be very interesting to see how all that occurs with what the NBA and Players Association feels would be the best way to handle that.”

It would be difficult for a coach to plan a roster if all players declared for the late June draft knowing they could return to school if not selected.

“The problem could be if you get into it, and it’s the end of June and you give the scholarship away because you feel the youngster will be drafted or he’s going to pursue professional options. Would there be an opportunity for that youngster to come back to your school if you give the scholarship away?” Self said. “There will be instances like that without question. In theory it sounds good. I don’t know what all the consequences will come of that just yet. A lot probably depends on how the NBA views it and what they set their guidelines to be.”

High school prospects also will be allowed to be represented by an agent beginning July 1 before their senior year in high school provided they have been identified as “an elite senior prospect by USA Basketball.” This rule will go into effect, “if/when the NBA and the NBPA permit high school students to enter the draft,” the NCAA stated.

To work with a high school or college athlete, agents must be “certified by an NCAA program with standards for behavior and consequences for violations.”

“I do not have a feel for that,” Self said of college and prep players being able to have agents. “I think more information is good (that an agent can provide in addition to coaches’ advice). I think what potentially could happen, though, is you have colleges recruiting agents and their firms and not as focused maybe as much on families. Because when somebody makes a decision to sign with a certain agent you are going to have to definitely do a good job recruiting that particular party in case that youngster would decide to go to college when the decision is made.”