NCAA changes policies on draft, agents and recruiting

Eligibility for players who aren?t selected in the NBA draft could be restored based on a landmark decision from the NCAA on Wednesday.

Several changes related to amateur status and eligibility are being put in place by the NCAA, including allowing ?elite? high school players and all college players to work with endorsed player agents.

?We remain committed to promoting fairness in college sports and creating an environment that will champion the success of student-athletes,? the NCAA said in a statement.

However, the NBA and USA Basketball independently told ESPN that while they had consulted with the NCAA recently on proposed changes, neither organization believed a consensus was reached or near before the NCAA?s announcement Wednesday.

The earliest the NBA intends to change the policy on high schoolers entering the draft is 2021 based on the collective bargaining agreement. An amendment bargained by the league?s players and owners is permissible, per the CBA.

Adopting recommendations made by the commission on college basketball convened in response to a federal recruiting probe engulfing Louisville, Arizona and other top programs, the NCAA plan is to establish a pool of certified agents who can advise players on their futures starting with high school seniors.

Only prospects invited to the NBA scouting combine are eligible to return to school.

In January, the NCAA voted to allow men?s hockey players to be represented by agents who had met certain criteria. College baseball players were granted agent representation in 2016.

The NCAA said it focused on set initiatives but plans to continue negotiating with the NBA and USA Basketball to fully define additional legislation, which could include eliminating the NBA?s ?one-and-done? rule requiring players to be at least one year out of high school before joining the pro league.

Changes for incoming recruits are afoot, as well, including increasing the number of permissible campus visits for recruits to 15 from five.

Per a joint statement Wednesday afternoon from NCAA president Mark Emmert, NCAA Board of Governors chair and Georgia Tech president G.P. Peterson, and Eric Kaler, Division I Board of Directors chair and University of Minnesota president:

?The changes we approved will:

--Provide college basketball players more freedom and flexibility to decide their future.

--Minimize the leverage of outside influences on high school recruits and college athletes.

--Add fresh perspective and independent judgment to NCAA decision-making at the highest level of policymaking and in investigations and case resolution.

--Strengthen accountability and deter future rule-breaking with harsher penalties for those who break the rules.?

With regard to agents and accepting payments, including travel and expenses, the NCAA plans to make a major change to approve certain financial coverage by agents.