Bonnell: NCAA deadline is toothless

April 9, 2012 

The NCAA has set a deadline of Tuesday for underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft or stay in school another year. That “deadline” is toothless because it comes 19 days before the NBA’s deadline to accept early-entry candidates into the draft.

Any underclassman who has already declared for the draft – including, for instance, Duke’s Austin Rivers and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall – and who doesn’t remove his name by Tuesday, has forfeited his remaining college eligibility.

However, there’s nothing to stop an underclassman from saying he’ll return to college ball next season, then later – say, April 28 – submit his name to the NBA. In fact, if a player has any misgivings about what to do, there’s seemingly no downside to waiting another week or two and quietly researching pro options.

Confusing? Sure, but the NCAA made its own bed by assuming the NBA would conform to this new, earlier deadline. It really isn’t the NBA’s problem to adapt to the NCAA’s calendar, and we all know what this deadline is really about: High-profile college coaches not wanting to sit in limbo for a month or two about whether some of their best players are turning pro.

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