The NBA will require college seniors to petition the league for inclusion on the early-entry list in order to become draft-eligible this year, ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony reports.
The NCAA granted all winter athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic, giving every college basketball senior the option of returning for an additional season in 2021-22. The NBA’s decision for seniors to petition for draft eligibility will result in a record-breaking number of players on the early-entry list. In last year’s draft, 163 college underclassmen were on the early entry list.
The NCAA’s ruling regarding this year’s college seniors created a loophole in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Givony notes. Normally, graduating college seniors who have exhausted their four years of NCAA eligibility are automatically eligible for the draft. However, college seniors this season still have remaining eligibility.
The timetable for players declaring for this year’s draft and determining whether to remain draft-eligible remains murky.
The early-entry deadline is typically 60 days prior to the June draft. A date has not been set for this year’s draft. The Finals are scheduled to be held in July and the draft is usually held approximately a week after the season is completed.
The deadline for college players to decide whether to remain on the early-entry list is different from the NBA’s withdrawal deadline, which also complicates the process. Under NCAA rules, the early entry withdrawal deadline is 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA combine. No date has been established for this year’s combine.
It’s unlikely that draft prospects will begin the pre-draft process or have contact with NBA teams until late May or June, Givony adds.