What does it mean?

On Thursday the NCAA ruled four travel basketball teams ineligible to participate during the July NCAA certified tournaments. Here is an explanation of what it means.

On Thursday the NCAA issued an edict banning four prominent AAU travel teams from competing in during the month of July for being associated with an agent. The NCAA identified the agent as Andy Miller of ASM. Now what does this ban really mean for the short term and what does it signal for the long term.

The first thing to realize here is the initial finding sounds a lot more significant than it really is. The NCAA has ruled in essence that three team administrators and one coach can no longer be associated with the teams.

However the teams themselves are free to stay together. For example the Florida Rams have five-star prospects Brannen Greene, Chris Walker, and Kasey Hill along with several other talented stars. Those guys can all remain on the team, they just no longer can be called the Florida Rams, they can't wear Florida Rams issues shoes, wear Florida Rams jerseys, or have any previous coaches listed on the roster coaching them during July.

All the players can stay together, all of their travel, as long as it was booked previous to July 5, can be used, and they can still play in events as long as they are registered under a different team name. They would just not be able to represent or be wearing anything of their previous team.

So in essence the change for the four teams listed as "banned" is purely cosmetic. Outside of their administrator not being able to travel with them, nothing has changed. They can be coached by a different parent, a high school coach, or some other entity, which likely will happen.

Of course the players are free to play with whatever team they would like, but it wouldn't be in any way surprising for those kids to stay together due to the fact that all travel and hotel rooms are already booked, and they have built in relationships with each other, and want to finish out the summer with their team and their friends.

Basically the short term "ban" isn't what people think it is. The NCAA in their release clearly indicates all the kids are eligible to play in July, and directly lays out the guidelines for them remaining as one team, and how to do it that way.

Making those cosmetic changes will no doubt take some extra work heading into the first July period, but it is nothing that should be overly strenuous for any of the adults involved to figure out. Finding new jerseys, a new parent to coach the team, and submitting a new roster does take time, but clearly those issues are nothing that can't be solved in a timely fashion.

Where things get interesting is in the long term and at the agent level. It is impossible to know what will happen to Miller, the agent at the center of this investigation and ruling. However a similar case a few years ago involving Calvin Andrews and O.J. Mayo resulted in Andrews' agent license being suspended. Andrews, it should be noted, has since been re-instated.

Aside from that, it signals that the NCAA is getting more serious about looking into agent involvement in amateur athletics. It is no secret that agents have had involvement in the grassroots basketball scene for numerous years. Heck, multiple teams have been founded by people who are now agents.

Now will the NCAA be able to rid agents from youth basketball, odds are no. Agents and people associated them are smart, typically they don't make the mistake of sending an email, like the one the NCAA was able to get a hold of in this instance, but it does prove they are at least trying, and have made more ground in doing so than at any point in the last quarter century.

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