The NCAA voted on Wednesday to alter its rules governing college basketball players and the NBA Draft, loosening restrictions in an attempt to allow players to make better informed decisions on their future. The move will allow players more time to determine their future while granting them the right to try out and work out with NBA teams before making their final decision.
Using collaboration with the NCAA, the NBA, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the governing body pushed back the deadline for players to remove their name from NBA Draft consideration by 10 days following the conclusion of the NBA Draft Combine. Additionally, the NCAA will allow players to participate in the combine and one tryout per NBA team without jeopardizing their eligibility.
Student-athletes will also be able to enter the NBA Draft multiple times without jeopardizing their eligibility.
An athlete invited to the combine will be eligible to workout with his NCAA coach from the time he receives his invitation until he removes his name from consideration. Workouts will be allotted as they are in season, with the NCAA limiting players to 20 hours per week and four hours per day. Historically, practices were prohibited during final exams while practice times after the season were limited to eight hours per week in skill instruction and conditioning drills with a limit of two hours per week of skill instruction.
Last season, the NBA Combine was held in mid-May, right around when exams were happening. That forced players to declare for the NBA Draft well before they knew their prospects. That could jeopardize a player's eligibility and potential of playing in the NBA.
This is a move that could have had a direct impact on Boston College. Olivier Hanlan declared for the NBA Draft last year following his junior season. Hanlan, who worked out for teams such as the Boston Celtics before the Draft, had to declare his intention well before he knew where he would be taken. He wound up being selected by Utah in the second round and was assigned to the NBA Summer League. After struggling a bit in the Summer League, he chose not to sign with the Jazz, who had a deep roster at the guard position.
In August, he chose to sign to play professionally in Lithuania with Zalgiris Kaunas. He is currently playing in Lithuania on a one-year contract with the option for a second season.
Under the new rules, he would've been able to test the waters with multiple teams before deciding if he wanted to come back to BC for his final season. He would've been able to work out more on campus, try out with NBA teams, and ultimately get a feel for where he was going in the Draft before making his final decision. Since he was taken in the NBA Draft, it's possible he still would've left, but the rules change allows for a "what if?" type scenario.
The NBA Draft has been only two rounds since 1989, limiting the amount of players that can be chosen, including from international rosters.