There may be good news for college athletes who had their careers cut short by the cancellation of all NCAA spring and winter sports.
According to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, the NCAA informed its members that it is looking into granting another year of eligibility to spring athletes who had their entire seasons cancelled. The organization will also look at potential relief for winter athletes, many of whom played their seasons but were not able to compete in NCAA championships.
This is a lot easier said than done, and many issues will have to be worked through. Schools will have to account for incoming high school seniors who have scholarships already. On the issue of winter sports, there’s no guarantee that some NBA hopefuls will want to come back and play more college basketball. These are just some of the issues that will have to be sorted out, and probably helps explain why so many coaches would have preferred a postponement to outright cancellation.
The Big Ten is making a push to allow college athletes to transfer without as much of a penalty.
The current NCAA rules state that players competing in five sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, hockey and football) must sit out a year if they transfer. However, the Big Ten proposed legislation last year that said athletes in those five sports would not have to sit out a year for their first transfer, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. A second transfer would result in the student-athlete needing to sit out a year.
The proposal went unpublished by the NCAA in 2019, Dodd says, and the NCAA Board of Directors put a moratorium on transfer-related proposals for the 2019-2020 calendar year.
The landscape for athletic transfers has changed in recent years.
The NCAA implemented a “transfer portal”, which is a database where coaches can see which student-athletes are looking to transfer, making it easier for the players to find new schools. Student-athletes also can seek waivers to be granted immediate eligibility to play. Those waivers are approved and denied on a subjective, case-by-case basis.
Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh is a proponent of this proposal. He believes that rather than determining who is granted a waiver on a case-by-case basis, all athletes should be allowed a one-time transfer without penalty.
The transfer rule seemingly exists for two historic reasons: one, because studies previously showed students who did not transfer tended to have more academic success; and two, to prevent mercenary-type situations that existed in the early days of the NCAA.
The NCAA seems to understand the current issue is a matter of fairness, and that allowing one-time transfers is the fairest way to handle things.
California governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that allows college athletes to profit off their name and likeness. No surprise, the NCAA is not particularly happy.
The NCAA released a statement in response to the bill becoming California law, stating that they believe such changes can only be instituted nationally through NCAA rule-making. The organization said the law was “creating confusion” and added that further efforts by other states would make fairness and equity among student-athletes “unattainable.”
The NCAA was never going to like this, since they had no say in the bill’s passage. Their point about confusion created by inconsistent laws on a state-to-state basis is a fair one, though as of now, no other states have passed similar laws. California’s law is also likely to face court challenges, so it may not foster immediate changes.
There was legislation introduced in Congress with similar aims, and it earned the support of at least one prominent student-athlete. However, progress on its passage has stalled.
The NCAA’s new rules guiding which agents are allowed to represent college athletes has run into another giant roadblock.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, NBA agents are sending a letter informing the NCAA that they will not be registering for the NCAA’s agent certification program.
The NCAA had proposed numerous rules, including one that NBA agents would have to register for a certification program in order to represent student-athletes without them losing eligibility. NBA agents are essentially refusing to play that game, stating that the NCAA should not have regulatory power over who can and can’t represent a student-athlete when agents already have NBPA certification.
This is far from the first issue the NCAA’s proposed regulations have run into. In fact, they had to withdraw one of the certification requirements due to widespread outcry. Now agents are outright refusing to take place in that certification, meaning the whole process has reached a stalemate.
Did the NCAA create a new rule for agents that is aimed specifically at Rich Paul? That sure seems to be the case.
College basketball reporter Jon Rothstein reported on Tuesday that the NCAA has added criteria for agents who want to represent student-athletes testing the NBA Draft market. The criteria includes requiring agents to have a bachelor’s degree, be certified with the NBPA for a minimum of three years, and take an in-person exam at the NCAA Office in Indianapolis.
Why would they create such a rule? Well, there might be some thinking that instituting such minimum requirements would help protect student-athletes from being advised by unqualified representatives. Another way to look at it is they’re trying to restrict agents like Rich Paul from emerging by making aspiring agents jump through more and more hoops.
Paul is the founder of Klutch Sports and best known for representing LeBron James. He has grown into much more since starting Klutch Sports in 2012 and has become a game-changing agent viewed as someone who will help empower an athlete to do what’s best for themselves. At the same time, he appears to also value professionalism and commitments. He recently sold a stake in Klutch Sports to Hollywood talent agency United Talent Agency. His client list includes about 25 NBA players like Ben Simmons, Draymond Green and John Wall in addition to LeBron. He’s built all of this despite not having a college degree. Not having a degree means Paul wouldn’t be able to represent a player who is testing the draft waters and considering a return to school.
If Paul has accomplished as much as he has without a college degree, why would the NCAA require three years of certification and a college degree for someone to represent a student-athlete testing the waters? LeBron James didn’t need a college degree to get where he did. Nor did Kobe Bryant. And clearly Paul didn’t either. Such a restriction seems to be a play by existing agents to keep out potential competition.