NCAA approves changes to enforcement process

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The NCAA on Wednesday announced sweeping changes regarding college basketball eligibility, agents and other reforms in response to both the FBI investigation into alleged college basketball corruption past year and the April recommendations by the Commission on College Basketball.

The Rice Commission charged with finding reforms in the wake of an FBI investigation into corruption within college basketball issued its report in late April, a little more than three months ago. Two independent groups will be appointed to oversee and resolve complex cases, which might involve academic misconduct, major penalties or adversarial behavior.

Among the most notable changes is that the NCAA will allow college basketball players and "elite" high school prospects to sign with an agent - but only on a temporary basis.

According to the new rule, players who participate in the National Basketball Association combine are able to return if they notify their university's athletic director by 5 p.m. the Monday after the National Basketball Association draft.

Now college basketball players can work with an NCAA-certified agent while testing the waters of declaring for the NBA draft.

The Rice Commission, led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was formed in response to an FBI investigation into payments from shoe companies to coaches for steering players to certain schools.

Another reform would be geared toward the draft status of undrafted players.

NCAA investigators, who have always lacked the authority of law enforcement, will be allowed to use information gathered by other entities, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as they develop their cases. This is the NCAA's way of trying to institute a de facto version of subpoena power, which it lacked previously.

A joint statement from NCAA leaders noted, "These changes will promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor".

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Coaches and athletic department staff must now disclose any personal deals they have with the likes of Adidas, Nike and Under Armour.

It is unclear how close the NCAA is to an agreement or the likelihood of one.

"Basically, the NCAA has shut the barn door after the horses have escaped", Lichtman said. According to Dan Wolken of USA Today, players can only hire agents at the end of the season, meaning that agents will only have a tiny window of time in which to advise players on the best possible decisions for their futures.

The NBA's age limit, which now sets the minimum at 19, remains another contentious point.

College athletics - specifically college basketball - is getting a significant rulebook makeover.

The modification would have to be accepted by the players union and be written into the league's collective bargaining agreement. This will be implemented immediately by the NCAA with the schools now caught up in the Department of Justice's case regarding multiple schools and alleged violation of multiple federal laws.

Schools would be required to provided tuition, fees and books assistance to players who left early and wanted to return to school within 10 years.

"Very pleased with where we are, with the progress we've made so far", Peterson said.

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