May 10, 2018 / 12:58 PM / a year ago

Condoleezza Rice: NCAA rules 'incomprehensible'

Condoleezza Rice, head of the Commission on College Basketball, described NCAA rules prohibiting payments to student-athletes as “incomprehensible” on Wednesday.

ICSS - Securing Sport - Harold Pratt House, New York - 4/11/15 66th U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks on Day 2 of Securing Sport 2015 - the annual conference of the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) Photo Andrew Kelly for ICSS Livepic - 14153310

During a phone interview with USA Today Sports, Rice said she thought the commission’s report, which called for an end to the “one-and-done” rule among several other notable changes, was “pretty clear” that college athletes should be able to profit from their names, images and likenesses. However, she reiterated that this should only be possible after the NCAA’s ongoing legal cases are resolved.

“We believe that students ought to be able to benefit from name, image and likeness, but you can’t decide a program until you know the legal parameters,” Rice said. “That was the point. I think some of the commentary suggested that we didn’t really speak on this issue. I think we did speak on this issue, it’s just that we understand there’s a legal framework that has to be developed first. ...

“Sometimes when something’s incomprehensible, you have to go ahead and say, ‘This is incomprehensible,’ which means it probably isn’t right. And I thought that in the report, we were pretty clear, that we think the framework doesn’t work.”

Regarding one-and-done, which is an NBA rule, Rice said it won’t be eliminated until 2019-20 at the earliest due to the 2018-19 players that have already been recruited under the current system.

Rice suggested at the time of the commission’s report if the rule isn’t changed, the NCAA may have to add its own rules — perhaps barring freshmen from playing or making the scholarship of a player who leaves early unavailable after he leaves.

The commission’s findings, shared two weeks ago, also recommended that college players should be allowed to return to school if undrafted and that high school and collegiate athletes should be able to sign with a certified agent before deciding to test the NBA draft waters.

The 12-person commission also called for independent investigations into rule-breaking and cheating in college programs, pushing for stiffer penalties — possibly including lifetime bans — for offenders.

The NCAA will take the recommendations into consideration, president Mark Emmert said in a statement upon the sharing of the report, adding that he hopes to have changes in place by August.

“The NCAA appreciates the thorough review and comprehensive work by the Commission on College Basketball,” Emmert said. “The Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors will now review the independent commission’s recommendations to determine the appropriate next steps.”

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