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More free ideas to enable NCAA basketball players this fall

We are an Iowa Hawkeyes blog first, a Luka Garza blog second, and an IDEAS blog third

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NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Columbus Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

I love Luka Garza. We will continue to have Luka Garza content long after he has made his last basket as an Iowa Hawkeye whether that basket was against Illinois in March 2020 or the National Championship Game in 2021.

But we here at BHGP are currently in the five stages of grief regarding the 2020-21 basketball season. For those unfamiliar, they are: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, 5) acceptance.

I have fully passed through the very long “LUKA GARZA WOULD NEVER TURN DOWN ANY CHANCE OF TAKING IOWA TO A ‘SHIP” and very quick “ihateyoulukagarza” stages (Frank, I promise you this was a millisecond long, I could never truly hate or be angry at Luka) and am firmly bargaining. That stage, for all intents and purposes began last week, when I BEGGED the NCAA to put into motion May Madness.

But I’m fullflegedly bargaining now. I mean, people are ranking our beloved Hawkeyes as high as they’ve ever been ranked ahead of a season in my lifetime.

(pay no mind that Filip Petrusev’s situation mirrors Garza’s as much as any player in college basketball as both are non-American passport holding hoopers have European citizenship)

So I am throwing ALL of my ideas for a college basketball season’s likelihood to approach 100% and lock in as talented and experienced a roster as Fran has ever - or maybe will ever - have.

First, the most obvious:

Move the deadlines back as far as possible

Thanks to Google, the NBA draft is currently schedule for October 16th.

The current withdrawal dates are: August 3rd, if a player hopes to retain their collegiate eligibility and August 17th set by the NBA. Both are a full two months ahead of the draft. If these timelines existed last year, it would mean a player had to make a final decision April 6th or 20th.

The National Championship Game was April 8th.

From my view, the current timeline is to the benefit of absolutely no one. According to Rothstein’s current top 45, 17 players on the top 21 teams are currently up in the air in terms of whether they will stay or go. That doesn’t even include big time conference foes in Kofi Cockburn or Ayo Dosunmu.

At minimum, the NCAA and NBA should adjust their timelines to be in line with where last year’s were ahead of the draft. This means: September 25th and October 6th.

Again, the current dates don’t benefit anyone and if I am wrong here, please correct me.

The NBA rescinds the requirement player’s relinquish their NCAA eligibility to declare for the draft

This rule is, frankly, pretty outdated, especially considering the number of players who declare for the draft and aren’t, you know, drafted. Tyler Cook fell into this group last year, though he’s currently living that bubble life for the Denver Nuggets.

Considering the outdatedness of the rule, it’s worth understanding the origin of the rules, which come from some Boston team taking advantage of a loophole. As this internet expert said, “The unwritten convention at the time was that you only drafted players after they were done with their scholastic basketball career.”

So the NBA forced collegiate players to renounce their eligibility in order to be drafted. No such custom exists for international players who are regularly “draft and stashed” so a team can gain the rights to negotiate with them without guaranteeing a roster spot, as is the case for American first round draft picks.

This rule could be an easy one-time amendment for the unique circumstances surrounding the uncertainty of the 2020-21 season or, frankly, a permanent fixture to enable non-drafted players to return to their school.

Either way, this seems like an easy choice to allow players from college to retain that eligibility if the draft results in an undesirable outcome.

Allow 2020 Draft-eligible players to negotiate with teams whenever their 2021 collegiate season ends

This one is where my suggestions get a little off-the-rails potentially but still warrant consideration IN MY OPINION. Consider the following timeline:

  1. Players are drafted as planned in October. For argument’s sake, let’s say Garza is drafted with the 60th pick.
  2. Under the suggestion above, Garza cannot return to school but is not guaranteed an NBA roster spot, though the team drafting him has guaranteed the rights to negotiate a pro contract with him ahead of any other NBA team.
  3. It may be in Garza’s best interest to return to Iowa under this scenario - without a guaranteed NBA deal. He can play 2020-21 with the Hawkeyes but the season is cut short in February after a second wave of COVID-19 hits.
  4. The NBA has a redundancy plan in place to continue their season without delay. He can join whomever has his draft rights - presumably the team who drafted him - at this juncture.

The best case scenario here is that the NCAA season runs to completion, Iowa wins the National Championship, and Garza joins the team who drafted him (they have a roster spot available in this best case scenario) for an NBA championship run.


Finally, if the NBA season is permanently changed, then there will need to be a give/take between the draft and the college season

So if the NBA season is permanently changed to a December-August calendar from October-June, then there will be a permanent pinch point if the draft occurs after the season.

College rosters would not have the same offseason time-frame to amend as they currently do over the summer months. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world, since the deadlines could revert to the old ones (end of May) with a new draft date (September) but leaves months of uncertainty for dozens of student-athletes who are subject to an accelerated timeline, relative to the NBA season.

The more chaotic option is the typical draft timeline exists with the new NBA season timeline so the playoffs are ramping up just after the draft. So a player couldbe drafted and

  • immediately join a roster in the midst of a playoff run,
  • wait to negotiate until a later date - either after the playoffs end OR when their next college season is over, or
  • reenter the draft.

It probably won’t happen but still exciting to consider!

Anyways, this blog exists as a mechanism to bargain a Luka Garza return to Iowa and speak it into existence amidst 100 year-pandemic. I am 100% behind Luka and the decision he faces. The complication is I also want Iowa basketball to achieve truly unique heights should he return.

Hence, bargaining. Thank you for enabling this therapeutic, yet productive, exercise.