New NCAA boss wants to change NBA draft rules

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Incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert is wasting little time making his mark on the organization headquartered on the western edge of downtown.

Last week Emmert, who is leaving his post as University of Washington president to take over as NCAA president, began restructuring management, and this week said he wants to change NBA eligibility rules for men’s college basketball players.

On Aug. 13, Emmert, who doesn’t officially take his new post until Nov. 1, announced a new management structure. The restructuring includes the departure of three executives, including long-time Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt.

Jernstedt has been with the NCAA for 38 years, and has been instrumental in the operations of the men’s basketball tournament as well as women’s basketball, baseball and football. NCAA officials declined to elaborate on Jernstedt’s departure, only saying that his exit would take place at a mutually determined time. Jernstedt did not return a call seeking comment.

Dennis Cryder, senior vice president of branding and communications, and Elsa Cole, vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, will depart the staff effective Aug. 31, NCAA officials confirmed.

As part of the restructuring, the incoming president said he will combine the management of all 88 championships under one executive vice president. Greg Shaheen, senior vice president of Division I men’s basketball and business strategies, will serve as the interim executive vice president and report to the chief operating officer.

On Tuesday, Emmert told Seattle sports radio station WKJR-AM 950 that he favors the professional-eligibility rules for baseball over those that govern basketball. In baseball, a player can either turn professional after his senior year in high school or must wait until after his junior year in college.

In basketball, players currently are required to wait until one year after high school graduation, meaning many top players are playing only one year of college basketball, creating a “one and done” scenario derided by numerous college coaches and athletic directors.

“I think President Emmert is absolutely on the right track,” said Purdue University Athletic Director Morgan Burke. “We bring kids here to get a college education, and the one-and-done scenario sends the wrong message. It makes a mockery of what we’re all about, or at least what we’re all about at Purdue.”

Since the draft rules are governed by the sports’ professional leagues, it’s not clear what Emmert can do to change the system. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try.

Emmert told WKRJ he intends to “persuasively” discuss the matter with NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA Players Association boss Billy Hunter.

“This is a situation where the NCAA can’t mandate anything, and jumping up and down and waving your arms doesn’t get it done,” Emmert said. “You need to sit down with the people that do have responsibility for this—the NBA—and say, ‘This is how useful it would be for us. How does it work for you?’”


  • Predictable angles
    Let's just be a little clearer:
    The NCAA wants to be as profitable as possible. Essentially forcing the pro-bound athletes to take an as-long-as-possible tour through college is to their advantage. It makes their product better. Of course the AD at Purdue or any other university has the same thing in mind. The â??but we want them to get an educationâ?? argument is a smoke screen.
    The NBA also wants to be as profitable as possible. The NBA loves the universities being a huge part of their talent developmental process. It can somewhat be to the NBAâ??s advantage to let kids mature a bit longer, but it loses revenue when the obvious superstars are generating revenue in college.
  • not stern
    I dont think it is Stern against staying in college. It would be the players, their union and the agents. the NBA abides by the union rules.
  • majority will never turn pro
    It is hard to blame athletes that want to turn professional, but the reality is most will never join the pro ranks. The NCAA should adjust it's rules to best serve college athletes. The NCAA needs to reward programs that are NOT doing the "one and done" approach. Maybe those with higher student athlete graduation rates get more scholarships? Maybe schools that don't meet certain benchmarks for graduation rates are not tournament elegible? At least you would start to limit schools that are building one and done seasons at the expense of a true college athletic program.
  • Semi Pro
    Let's face facts and allow colleges and universities (and alumni) to sponsor semi-pro teams. Separate the basketball and football budgets completely from the academic budgets and let the NFL and NBA fund scholarships for any athlete who attends classes.
    If college athletes aren't in school to get an education, they should not be there. Let the NBA and NFL expand and improve their development leagues like MLB and the NHL have done. Why should colleges put up with players turning pro after one season?
  • Why do people go to college?
    Why do the vast majority of people go to college? If you answered to get an education you are DEAD WRONG!!!! You are living in a fantasy world. The vast majority of people go to college TO GET A JOB!!! They think they need to paper to get a decent job. Why should basketball players be any different. Do you really think for a second that if someone could go to college and after there freshman year get offered a job with Eli Lilly for 3 million a year they wouldn't jump on it? Of course they would, and NOBODY would say anything other than the kid would be stupid not to jump on it.
  • College is NOT a Development League
    For a HS senior the choice should be between going to the NBA development league or getting a College Education. It makes sense for both the NBA and NCAA. I just don't know that you can convince David Stern.
    • Change Can be Good and This One Is
      I fully concur with the new sheriff in town, and the sooner we can re-establish the term "student" back into Student-Athletes, the current mockery of our collegiate athletic system will end.

      I would also advocate a system that requires student athletes to meet some minimal national standard academically, and then, that they achieve a minimal grade point average (how about a C average?) for a core curriculum once they are at the university/college.

      Lastly, no more athletic scholarships to students until after they complete their Junior year in high school. Society needs to know they can compete academically at the college level, and we don't know that in their Freshmen/Sophomore years for sure.

      Likely not to get all of the above in place at this point, but at least we can focus on selling a message to all students that the primary mission of educational institutions is to accept only qualified students, and then to educate them to achieve theirs and society's educational goals.
    • Finally!
      Glad to see someone is actually looking to do the right thing!

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