The Big Ten will further explore the possibility of making all freshmen ineligible to participate in sports, the conference announced Tuesday.
The University of Maryland's student newspaper, The Diamondback, obtained a document last week that showed the conference was considering a "year of readiness" that would prevent student-athletes from playing varsity sports during their freshman year.
"The conference unanimously decided it would be important at this juncture to reach out to a diverse group of thought leaders in an effort to obtain as much feedback as possible to a number of important areas impacting academics on campus," the Big Ten said in a release. "Those areas include the potential establishment of a year of readiness for all sports--or select sports; student-athlete time demands; playing seasons; initial eligibility requirements; and other areas impacting academics on college campuses across the country. Knowing that matters of such impact would never be adopted unilaterally by a single conference or institution, it is important to the conference to devise a strategy and timeline that would encourage, and allow the conference to obtain, input from all."
CBSSports.com's Jon Solomon reported earlier this month that some conference commissioners were considering making freshmen ineligible. The prevalence of "one-and-done" players in men's basketball is "the main reason" commissioners are interested in a rule change, Solomon reported. The Big Ten identifies a desire to keep intercollegiate athletics primarily focused on education as the motivation for exploring freshman eligibility.
Freshman have been eligible to play since 1972. Beginning with the 2006 NBA draft, entrants were required to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from high school. Most players who enter the draft one year after graduating from high school have chosen to play one season in college. Others, such as Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay, decided to play overseas.
Nine freshmen declared for last year's NBA draft and they were all selected in the first round. The top four picks in the draft were all freshmen.
- Dan Gartland