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NCAA announces major rules changes to college basketball

Some of these will really affect Villanova. Others, not so much.

NBA: Lottery Draft Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA announce a major overhaul of their bylaws today, with changes ranging from the recruiting calendar, to player representation, to the NCAA’s subpoena power. The general reaction seems to be a ‘meh’ from most of the college basketball world. But I think there is some good stuff in there. Progress is progress.

If you want a full rundown of the changes, Matt Norlander at CBS has a great breakdown of everything in there.

Here are the four that matter most to the Villanova Wildcats and their basketball program.

Wholesale recruiting changes

The big story this offseason was the NCAA’s rumored desire to kill the July ‘Live Period’ that allows coaches to attend sneaker-sponsored events for three weekends.

The NCAA’s goal? Limit sneaker influence in basketball and root out corruption. The problem they refuse to acknowledge is that sneaker influence will still be there as long as the amateurism model is in tact. And limiting coaches ability to view these competitive events in exchange for drill-based camps will only hurt the players’ ability to get exposure.

Thankfully, the NCAA backed off and will still allow events like the Peach Jam and UAA Finals to be attended by coach’s. They’ll also be permitted to attend the NBPA Top 100 Camp, one of the best evaluation settings of the year, for the first time. A win for all.

Oh, and players get up to 15 official visits now! I very much doubt with Villanova’s budget and regional focus that we’ll see a bigger uptick in official visitors, but it remains to be seen.

Undrafted players can now return to school

This was rumored for a long time, but I’m still surprised to see it pass. Previously, if you declared for the NBA Draft and you had to remove it by a certain date to retain your eligibility.

Now you can return - but only if you go undrafted AND had attended the NBA Combine. So a step in the right direction, but not all the way there.

I’m interested to see how this affects recruiting. The NBA Draft is obviously much later than the dates that many prospects commit. We’ll likely see even more prospects delay their decisions now as they evaluate roster opportunity.

Coaches will need to operate under the assumption that players who declare and attend the Combine are gone. The reality is they should get enough information to know whether those players will get drafted.

This does create the possibility for more LaGerald Vick-like situations going forward though.

“Elite” high school prospects can now sign with an agent

USA Basketball will be involved in defining what ‘elite’ means, and will only go into affect if the one-and-done rule meets its expected demise sometime in the next several years. And for those of you who aren’t marked by USA Basketball? Tough luck, I guess.

This is a potential win for those few players, who now get more access to make an informed decision on college vs. the professional ranks. Villanova doesn’t play in the uber-elite player all that often, so it remains to be seen how this affects the program’s recruiting mentality going forward.

The NCAA is looking to hand out punishments ASAP

The organization offered two major changes here. The first being that they are seeking subpoena power to the schools and their employees. Here’s the exact wording:

“As a term of employment, school presidents and athletics staff must commit contractually to full cooperation in the investigations and infractions process.”

This is in addition to announcing that University Presidents and Chancellors will be held personally accountable for their institution’s behavior. They’ll also seek stronger punishments, such as life-time show cause penalties, for coaches.

The second big change is the NCAA’s ability to use outside inquiries (i.e. the FBI investigation) as background to create their own investigations and penalties. This is effective immediately, which to me means the NCAA is trying to move on the schools that have been round up in the investigation.

Villanova obviously wasn’t named in the latest reports and by all accounts Jay Wright runs a pretty straight and narrow program. But freshman Jahvon Quinerly was reported to be involved in the mess at Arizona. Every indication I’ve gotten is that Quinerly will be eligible, but the NCAA now appears to have more ammo if they want to make a case.

Overall, I think these changes are for the better for the players. That’s what I’m most interested in anyways, and Jay Wright’s recruiting strategy should mean that the changes don’t affect the program all that much.