Many Consider Duke Blue Devil’s basketball standout Freshman Jahlil Okafor to be “one and done” and headed for the riches of the NBA after this season.
However, while talking to the Chicago Sun-Times earlier this week, Okafor suggested to Steve Greenberg that staying around another season isn’t out of the equation.
“I know I'll be in position to live my dream in the NBA or live my dream and stay here at Duke with people who truly love me,” he said. “I totally feel comfortable with staying here in college, and my family wouldn't care one bit as long as I'm happy. They know how much I love being here” Okafor said.
Judging from his statement, it’s clearly evident that Okafor loves the campus environment at Duke University and is very happy! But there could be other factors that could possibly influence his decision to stay in college.
In January 2015, during the NCAA's annual convention, schools and athlete representatives from the NCAA Power 5 conferences, approved increasing the value of scholarships. (ACC, BigTen, Big12, Pac-12, SEC)
Also approved but not receiving much press, athletes are now allowed to borrow against future earnings to purchase loss of value insurance. This could very well be the one rule change that could influence Okafor and other top performing underclassmen to stick around another year or so in college.
This will become effective August 1, 2015, but scholarship agreements for the 2015-16 school year can be executed prior to that date.
These policies can help those athletes injured while playing college sports which caused them to drop several rounds in the draft. This of course would cause them to receive smaller signing bonuses and salaries.
Prior to this, athletes could only borrow against future earnings to purchase disability insurance, which would cover them in the event their college career was ended and professional earnings eliminated due to injury.
The loss of value policies basically offers much more protection than the disability policies!
In allowing an athlete to borrow money to purchase his or her own loss of value insurance, the NCAA is hoping to eliminate the role of people who don’t always have their best interest in mind such as: agents, financial advisers or other third parties.
In the past, schools had used a loophole regarding the NCAA Student Assistance Fund, drawing money from the fund and helping athletes pay for the premiums on loss of value policies. Florida State University did so with Heisman Trophy winning QB Jameis Winston as did Texas A&M for star left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi.
This probably was the main reason both decided to stay in school another year before turning pro.
Although it remains to be seen if the new changes in NCAA rules will have any major influence in keeping Okafor and other top performing underclassmen around another year or so, it sure could make things very interesting this spring!
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