Thanks, NCAA. The card is in the mail. But don't expect one from NBA hopefuls. Or college hoops fans.
The NCAA's Board of Directors approved a new rule that requires NBA draft early entrants who wish to stay in school to withdraw by May 8, cutting into their decision time by more than a month. (The change takes effect this fall.) Anyone who wants to jump to the pros better make up their minds.
Amazingly enough, the rule is a compromise to an ACC proposal that would've moved up the deadline to mid-April.
So we're clear, once the NCAA tourney ends in early April, players can declare for the draft and take a month to decide if it's the right move. Individual NBA workouts will be April 30.
It's good for coaches, who no longer have to wait more than two months to find out if some players will return to school. That makes spring recruiting far easier.
It's also good for us media types, who like to complain about tracking who's in and who's out of the draft. (As of Thursday, 73 underclassmen threw their names in the draft.)
But it can't be good for the players. As Rush the Court wrote earlier this month, it'll likely limit the amount of good feedback a prospective draft candidate can learn. Nothing like rushing into a major decision.
After all, this isn't a rule for guys like Tyreke Evans or Jrue Holiday. They're first-round picks. It's for the Devan Downeys and Greivis Vasquezs – the players who might not get drafted could possibly pass up on solid senior seasons.
It's not good for the sport. The harder it becomes for players to make good decisions regarding the draft – and every year, we see someone declare for the draft when they clearly don't belong – the more college hoops suffers.
Why rush marginal prospects into the NBA's developmental league or overseas? We already have some high school prospects doing that…