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Remaining Eligible: Professional Draft Inquiries

Current student-athletes may contact a professional sports organization to discuss eligibility in a professional-league player draft or to request information about professional market value without affecting their amateur status.

A current student-athlete loses amateur status in a particular sport by asking to be placed on the draft list or supplemental draft list of a professional league in that sport. Amateur status is lost even if the athlete’s name is withdrawn from the draft list before the actual draft, the athlete is not drafted, or the athlete is drafted but does not sign an agreement with a professional team.

Basketball student-athletes may enter a professional league’s draft once during their college career without jeopardizing their eligibility as long as they are not drafted by a professional team and as long as they declare their intention to resume playing for their college team before the first day of the spring signing period, typically in April.

This year, men's basketball student-athletes wishing to retain their eligibility must withdraw from the NBA draft by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, April 10. This applies only to underclassmen who already have declared for the draft.

The NBA’s deadline for student-athletes to enter the draft is April 29. However, if underclassmen declare between April 11-29, they will relinquish any remaining college eligibility.

This timeline is due to a rule adopted by NCAA member schools in 2011. The rule change is designed to help student-athletes make a decision earlier than in the past to focus on either academics or athletics and also give coaches more flexibility with roster-planning and recruiting.

A student-athlete, his or her parents or the university’s professional sports counseling panel may negotiate with a professional sports organization without the loss of the student-athlete’s amateur status. However, a student-athlete who retains an agent will lose amateur status.

The NCAA is reviewing its current agent and advisor legislation to ensure that student-athletes have the best information at the right time to make informed decisions. The NCAA is not likely to change its opposition to student-athletes receiving benefits from agents and advisors but will discuss how advisors might help provide information to student-athletes who are weighing their professional options.