NCAA changes deadline for NBA draft

The NCAA will give players extra time to decide whether to enter the draft, a change of the calendar announced Wednesday that will likely have a much greater impact on the college game than the NBA.

College players previously had to commit to returning to school or turning pro by the day before Letter of Intent day, in early-April. Now, prospects have until 10 days after the combine in Chicago, which this year ends May 15 ahead of the June 23 draft.

The new timeline appears to have little impact on the NBA beyond the potential addition of a few players at the combine with the safety net of knowing, unlike past years, they can stay in school. The extra time front offices will have to evaluate draft prospects will be relatively minimal after a full season of scouting, and teams will still have approximately a month, depending on future dates of the Chicago event and the draft itself, to gather information.

Players will gain the most from the change, with the opportunity to prepare longer for the draft and spend more time in front of NBA teams that, all sides hope, will lead to better feedback on the draft chances and possibly encourage some prospects to return to school. The biggest drawback is for college coaches, who may not know until late-May, long after the spring signing period, whether they will have an available scholarship or have to replace an important part of the roster.

“The cooperation between the NCAA, NBA and (National Assn. of Basketball Coaches) was vital to the success of this idea,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, the chair of the Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, said in a statement. “We reached an excellent outcome that will undoubtedly benefit every group involved, most importantly the student-athlete. We all worked toward the same goal – providing students and their families with the opportunity to assess their future professional sports prospects in a realistic timeline. The rule change will allow students the chance to pursue their dreams while still preserving their ability to play collegiately.”

Players will now be able to enter the draft multiple times without losing eligibility, as long as they withdraw before the deadline, and participate in the combine and one team workout per year.

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