There is a lot of new stuff happening in the basketball world. Earlier today, Mark Schlabach of ESPN reported that the NCAA Eligibility Center will be waiving the standardized test score requirement for incoming freshman in both DI and DII for the 2020-21 academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is because due to COVID-19, schools nationwide are closed, therefore student-athletes are not able to take the standardized tests (ACT and SAT) that they would normally be required to take.
Students who expect to graduate from high school in time to enroll in a Division I school this coming academic year will be academically eligible by earning a combined 2.3 grade-point average in the 10 NCAA-approved core courses, with a combined seven in English, math and science prior to the start of their senior year. There is a 2.2 GPA requirement in 10 NCAA-approved core courses for Division II schools.
The same GPA requirements will apply to international students and they must complete at least 10 core courses prior to the start of their senior year.
The Eligibility Center is navigating the complexity of COVID-19 and its negative impact on our membership, high schools and student-athletes,” Felicia Martin, vice president of the NCAA Eligibility Center, said in a statement. We understand this is an unprecedented situation and a difficult time for students and their parents, and the Eligibility Center is working diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for college-bound student-athletes and our member schools.
The NCAA said the new requirements will be considered automatic waivers for both Divisions I and II, meaning those students meeting these criteria will be academically eligible to receive an athletics scholarship and practice and compete in their first year at member schools.
The Eligibility Center said in the news release that it would also modify its approach to high schools that issue pass/fail grades because of closures and would not require separate reviews of distance or e-learning programs used for NCAA-approved core courses during spring and summer 2020. Students will also be able to complete additional required core courses this summer.
This now means that all 2021 athletes are eligible to reclassify, whereas before some found themselves not eligible to.
What does this mean for Kentucky?
Well, right now it looks like the Cats will be adding Matt Haarms sometime this weekend. With this new rule opening up reclassifications for just about everyone, the two guys that could end up reclassifying are Paolo Banchero and Jonathan Kuminga, the No. 4 and No. 1 ranked recruits in the class of 2021.
Banchero has stated several times that he will not be reclassifying, but with this new exception, he could always change his mind. Banchero completed a virtual visit with Kentucky on Wednesday.
Kuminga on the other hand is likely to reclassify. He tweeted this just two days ago:
While it isn’t likely at all, it would be huge if Kentucky got both Kuminga and Banchero to reclassify and pick the Cats.
Other prospects that could decide to reclassify are Jaden Hardy, who released his top 12 schools last night that included Kentucky. Kennedy Chandler, who also completed a virtual visit with Kentucky on Wednesday. And Moussa Cisse, who released his top 10 schools on Sunday that included Kentucky.
All of the players are in the middle of their recruitment process and slowly narrowing down their lists, coming closer to a decision. With this new exception, no one knows what will happen and I expect a lot of news to come out in the coming days/weeks.
The recruiting world is wild, but John Calipari and Kentucky could be getting ready for a big finish to the 2020 class.