The pandemic is changing the NBA’s draft rules for the elderly


As a shift from previous years, the NBA League office will require senior students to apply to the league for inclusion on the NBA early entry list in order to become eligible in 2021.

Last October, due to interruptions caused by the pandemic, the NCAA awarded an additional year of qualification to winter athletes, meaning that every senior university basketball student has the right to return to the additional 2021-22 season.

Although the NBA requires players to opt for the draft, the NFL took the opposite position last month, demanding that college graduates (who played for four years) drop out by March 1 if they intend to return to college for an additional year. similarity.

The NBA move is expected to result in a record number of players on the early draft list, which had 163 colleges last year.

Garth Glissman, vice president of NBA basketball operations, told ESPN that this is the right approach for NBA teams and for basketball players.

“If you think about everything that students around the world and college basketball players have gone through – they are in this situation in no way,” he said. “They did not want the pandemic to end abruptly [play] last season. They certainly didn’t want to play a pandemic this season. This whole situation happened due to a combination of circumstances beyond their control. Therefore, we did not consider it appropriate to add to their plate an additional layer of responsibilities that they must affirmatively exclude. We basically take on the administrative burden at a time when these players have enough plates and are in this situation for reasons that are completely out of their control. “

Under the NBA Collective Agreement, graduates who graduate from college — meaning those who have exhausted their four-year NCAA qualifications — automatically qualify for the NBA draft and do not need to declare themselves through an early entry list.

The wording reads, “The player has completed a four-year college or university in the United States and has no remaining qualifications for interschool basketball.”

Since the NCAA grants all players an additional year, the second part of that rule is no longer applicable, since every player in university basketball has “remaining qualifications for intercollegiate basketball”.

The language required the NBA to consult with the NBA Players Association and the NCAA to determine if it would automatically include all seniors in the draft, “unless they choose not to use the fifth year to enroll in college,” as noted. from the NFL, or instead require players to opt for NBA drafts this spring.

According to ESPN statistics and information, 19.7% of the players created in the past five years were older than the NCAA.

As for the schedule for when players must declare they qualify for the NBA draft and begin the “water testing” process to determine the likelihood that they will be selected, there is still considerable uncertainty.

In normal years, the NBA requires subordinates (and non-eligible international players) to declare eligible by mid-April, in accordance with the CBA language, stating that the NBA’s early entry deadline is 60 days before the NBA draft (usually held third week of June). Although it is still unknown when the NBA draft for 2021 will take place, it is usually implemented in the week after the NBA Finals, which would be at the end of July this year, based on the current NBA calendar.

The deadline by which college basketball players must decide whether to keep their names on the early entry list – a separate date from the NBA’s withdrawal deadline – is also still in the air. The NCAA guidelines set a withdrawal deadline as 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA combination. The combination date 2021, as well as the format, are still undecided. In 2020, the NCAA moved the deadline to August 3 due to a change in the NBA calendar.

Given the current state of NBA security protocols surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the logistical stress inflicted on its 30 teams, it seems unlikely that potential contractors will be able to begin their pre-draft process or have contact with NBA teams in terms of conducting training or interviews by the end of May. possibly June. Any changes to the 60-day period between the publication of the NBA Early Entry List and the draft should be jointly agreed with the NBA Players Association. The regular season of the NBA League should end on May 16, about a month later than usual.

The situation would also lead to a significant dose of uncertainty for college basketball teams regarding the construction of their squads until late in the summer. The NCAA is expected to enact a one-time transfer waiver provision, which will allow all basketball players the opportunity to change schools once, without a seasonal season.

Players who test NBA drafts will probably want to first get an accurate measure of their professional prospects before deciding whether to return to school and then for which school to play. The possibility of receiving payments under the law on name, image and similarity – which could be resolved this spring or summer – could further complicate their decision-making process.

The NFL’s decision to force senior students to drop the NFL draft to take advantage of an additional year of eligibility for the NCAA created a difficult deadline that does not currently exist for college basketball.

As the season ends for most college basketball players in the next three weeks, a long dead period that lasts at least until the end of May before players are allowed to communicate with NBA teams is likely to cause significant uncertainty.

To explain that gap, the NBA says it will step up player education through its Undergraduate Advisory Board.

The UAC was founded in 1997 to help players in the NBA’s decision-making process, and in recent years has played a bigger role – especially last year due to a disruption caused by the pandemic.

Before the early entry deadline, UAC sends NBA executives a series of emails with a list of player names asking for feedback, asking their team to assess the status of the player draft. Players are then informed of the consensus reached by weighing the NBA league manager’s response and offering feedback on whether the player is likely to be a lottery player, first place, runner-up or undefeated.

“We will work diligently to improve our communication with the college basketball community,” Glissman said. “We, both the NCAA and the NBA, recognize the need for continuing education during this year’s drafting process. There is more uncertainty this year than in a normal year. Therefore, we are both committed to trying our best to provide continuing education for college players. , coaches and family members, with the full intention of helping young men make an informed decision at an important time in their lives. We have experience that we have built a relationship with the NCAA in recent years to really hit this educational topic and intend to really increase it this year.

“This is a continuation of something we’ve been working hard on for the last few years. For the third year in a row, we’ve been providing written feedback to student athletes, first before the early entry deadline, so they get that initial letter of feedback before deciding if they want to enter the draft. And then if they come in and think about whether to stay in school or go back to school, they’ll get a second round of written feedback. “

The NCAA will now need to decide when to require players to drop out of the NBA Draft, as well as any deadlines it could set when players must select or exclude their additional qualifying year. Some of this is likely to depend on the dates the NBA decides on its draft and combination.


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