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NCAA's Botched Rollout of New Basketball Rule Creates Nightmare for One Athlete

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The new NCAA rule designed to help players explore their NBA draft potential by allowing them to sign with an agent and still return to school surprisingly doesn’t apply to all college players.

It was a stunning revelation for Phil Bledsoe from tiny Division II Glenville State in West Virginia when he learned the rule adopted amid the college basketball scandal applies only to Division I players.

Though Bledsoe followed the meticulous guidelines outlined by the NCAA to take advantage of the rule, he found out Tuesday that the restriction leaves him entangled in bureaucratic limbo and his college status unclear.

He pulled out of the draft before Wednesday night’s 11:59 p.m. NCAA deadline for underclassmen to withdraw if they plan to return to campus.

“This didn’t need to happen,” Bill Lilly, the dismayed compliance coordinator at Glenville State who made the mistake, told The Associated Press.

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“I could’ve avoided it, but we could’ve had help in avoiding this thing, too, because we weren’t trying to sneak anything by anyone,” Lilly said. “We were just trying to give the kid the option we thought he had, and now he doesn’t have it.”

The NCAA said Wednesday that Division II and Division III schools will evaluate the new rule.

In a statement to the AP on Wednesday, NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the rule adopted last summer followed recommendations from the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball “regarding the Division I environment” amid a federal corruption investigation into the sport.

Schools in Division II and Division II will “evaluate the impact” of the new rule and consider whether to adopt it, she said.

Osburn declined to speak on any individual cases, but said schools with players impacted by rules changes “can work through existing processes to seek potential solutions.”

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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