Doug Robinson: NCAA should welcome back undrafted college basketball players

SALT LAKE CITY — Even all these years later, John Walsh remains a cautionary tale. He was a prolific quarterback at BYU in 1993 and 1994. After NFL draft “guru” Mel Kiper predicted Walsh would be a first-round draft pick, Walsh declared himself eligible for the 1995 draft following his junior year.

Most fans know what happened next. He tumbled all the way to the seventh (last) round, 213th overall, the last quarterback taken. He was quickly cut by the Cincinnati Bengals.

In a fair world, Walsh would simply have returned to BYU for his senior year, but there is nothing fair or sensible where the NCAA rules. Once a college football or basketball player makes a final decision to declare for the professional draft, his college career is finished. There is no going back.

Instead of leading the BYU football team his senior year and rebuilding his draft stock — or simply enjoying the college game in and of itself — Walsh sold tools out of a truck in California.

“It still hurts,” Walsh told the Salt Lake Tribune in 2005. “I think about it still and I’m still trying to get over it.”

The same NCAA draft rules are still enforced nearly three decades after that famous draft gaffe, and more and more players are making the same mistake that Walsh made.

A record 123 college football underclassmen have declared themselves eligible for next month’s NFL draft. A record 137 college basketball underclassmen declared for the 2017 NBA draft, despite the fact that it consists of only two rounds and 60 total picks (math apparently still being a weakness in college curriculums). One of them was Eric Mika, who left BYU two years early to declare for the draft and now plays in Italy.

The number of players leaving school early for the draft has …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

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