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Posted: Friday May 1, 2009 11:44AM; Updated: Friday May 1, 2009 11:44AM

NCAA narrows window for prospects to withdraw from draft

Story Highlights

The NCAA shortened the time players can withdraw from the NBA draft

The new deadline is May 8; in previous years the deadline was in mid-June

College coaches wanted an earlier date to sign additional players if needed

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The NCAA is trying to end the continual guessing game for college basketball coaches.

Next season, coaches will have all their answers by May 8.

On Thursday, the NCAA's board of directors approved legislation that shortens the time players have to withdraw from the NBA draft, moving the date up from mid-June to early May.

"This is a topic that I think has been frustrating for the college community as well as the professional community," Division I vice president David Berst said during a conference call announcing the change.

The new rule has attracted support from several key constituencies.

Coaches wanted an earlier date so they could sign additional players to make up for unexpected departures. School presidents were concerned players may spend too much time preparing for and attending NBA workouts at the expense of classwork.

One NBA official even suggested teams don't need that much time to scout players.

"It's not like we're sitting waiting with bated breath to see who's going to stay in and who's going to go out," Denver Nuggets vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman said. "If they stay in, they stay in. If they don't, they go back to school. In many cases, we're happy that they go back, because most kids, frankly, need to stay in school."

That is still a longer window than it is for college football underclassmen, who have 72 hours after declaring for the NFL draft to withdraw and return to school.

The rules change also poses some unique challenges for the NCAA.

The NBA's collective bargaining agreement requires the list of players pulling out of the draft to be released in mid-June, a date that won't change until the league reaches a new CBA with the players association. The CBA expires after the 2010-11 season.

But if a player decides to pull out, he must still notify the NCAA by May 8. The legislation does not establish how that notification will occur.

"Rest assured it will be communicated," Berst said. "The manner by which it is communicated still has to be determined. They'll have to opt out of the draft to our satisfaction."

Berst said the NBA is helping with the change.

The league agreed to move up the date for individual workouts from early June to April 30, giving college players a little more than a week to showcase their skills.

And this may only be the start of a broader discussion.

Atlantic Coast Conference officials proposed moving the cutoff date to mid-April, when the spring signing period opens each year. The legislative council approved the compromise date after seeking the advice of NBA officials and the NBA Players Association. Those groups and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Berst said, have agreed to meet with NCAA officials to find an even better resolution.

Berst also acknowledged there could be more changes before the 2010 draft.

The board also rescinded a provision that allowed undrafted underclassmen to announce within 30 days of the draft whether they would return to school.

Concerns remain for coaches who are increasingly talking about academic success because of the potential penalties assessed to underperforming teams based on Academic Progress and Graduation Success scores.

"I don't think you can have any situation where players are missing classes, and I'm all for chasing the dream," Indiana coach Tom Crean said Thursday.

"When Dwyane Wade was going to be (drafted) between 5 and 13, there was no question he should go. But you're very hamstrung when people are leaving and their grades aren't intact. I just don't think you can have anybody leave and have days on end doing workouts."

President Myles Brand, who is fighting advanced pancreatic cancer, spoke briefly on the conference call but did not discuss his health.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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