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NCAA says basketball players can sign with agents

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This is a huge step.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Loyola vs Nevada Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Following the embarrassing FBI scandal that resulted in the arrest and/or dismissal of several coaches and loss of eligibility for players at prominent programs, the NCAA appears to have come to the realization that this monster is too big to tame. Check this out:

Regarding agents, the specific language from the NCAA website reads as follows:

Agent representation for high school students

Pending a decision by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, high school basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning July 1 before their senior year in high school, provided they have been identified as an elite senior prospect by USA Basketball.

The effective date will be decided if/when the NBA and the NBPA permit high school students to enter the draft.

Agent representation for college students

College basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning after any basketball season if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.

This rule change is effective immediately.

Agents can pay for expenses

Agents can pay for meals and transportation for players and their families if the expenses are related to the agent selection process. Also, the student cannot miss class, and the money must be spent where the student lives or attends school. Additionally, high school and college student-athletes and their families can have meals, transportation and lodging paid for by an agent if those expenses are associated with meetings with the agent or a pro team.

Something tells me there are going to be a lot of agent meetings at exotic destinations.

Needless to say, this is groundbreaking legislation that would likely lead to endorsement deals for players down the road, which would be long overdue. Assuming it comes to fruition, you have to imagine that at some point it will extend to other sports as well, through litigation or otherwise. The reasoning:

Provide student-athletes more freedom and flexibility to decide about going pro and pay for scholarships for those who want to finish their degree later.

Minimize the leverage of harmful outside influences on high school recruits and college student-athletes.

The only potential roadblocks at this point appear to be the NBA and NBAPA, and it’s hard to imagine either entity standing in the way.

Thoughts?

UPDATE: