NCAA basketball: Rules for recruiting, draft, agents and enforcement changing

The NCAA announced numerous changes to college basketball Wednesday.

Most noteworthy: College players (and potentially high school players eventually) will be allowed to hire agents, and players who enter the NBA draft but aren’t selected can return to school if they choose to do so by 5 p.m. on the Monday after the draft.

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.

Additionally, the NCAA significantly changed the recruiting calendar in spring and summer, putting more restrictions on events put on by non-scholastic groups and allowing players to take more official visits during their high school years.

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The NCAA also standardized degree completion, mandating that schools pay tuition, fees and books for players who return to their original school within 10 years of leaving.

(Some programs already do this in some form or fashion.)

The enforcement of NCAA rules will look different in the future, too, as some investigation processes were streamlined and two independent groups will now handle “complex cases.”

The first independent group will include both external investigators with no school or conference affiliation and select NCAA enforcement staff. The second group, composed of 15 people with backgrounds in law, higher education or sports and not affiliated with NCAA schools or conferences, will review the findings from the first group, oversee the case hearing and decide penalties, if any.

Those who break the rules could face stiffer penalties as well, including a postseason ban of up to five years.

The changes mostly stem from a report released in April detailing various issues with college basketball in the wake of a federal investigation into individuals accused of funneling players to certain schools in exchange for pay.

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