NCAA Acts on Athletes Turning Pro, Big 12 Title Game

January 14, 2016

The National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I council on Wednesday voted to give male basketball players more flexibility to test their professional sports options and return to college, and to let the Big 12 Conference have a championship game despite having only 10 members.

The change in basketball eligibility rules gives players more time to decide whether they want to enter the National Basketball Association draft without forfeiting their collegiate eligibility. It will allow players until 10 days after the NBA's draft combine (where players are scouted) to remove their names from consideration for the draft, and to let them enter the draft in multiple years without losing their collegiate eligibility. The change is part of the NCAA's push -- prompted in large part by pressure from athletes and unionization efforts -- to give athletes more rights.

The other change approved by the Division I council will allow Football Bowl Subdivision leagues to hold year-end conference title games even if they don't meet current requirements that they have at least 12 members and two divisions. The change was requested by the Big 12 Conference, which has been left with only 10 members in the latest round of conference realignment and does not want to have to expand to hold a conference tournament. The exemption was approved by a 7-2 vote.

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