Early entrants for the 2017 NFL Draft were required to declare on Jan. 16, 102 days before the first day of the draft on April 27. Once they declared, they were all in.
Early entrants for the 2017 NBA Draft were required to declare by April 23, 61 days before the draft on June 22. But they had 32 days to sit on the decision until the May 24 withdrawal date. If they wished to wait until the deadline to decide, they were just 29 days away from the NBA Draft.
Though the NCAA's rule to allow basketball players to test the draft waters has been widely applauded and gives student-athletes the control they deserve, it's prompted questions into why football players aren't afforded the same luxury.
"We talked about access to the draft, where it's similar to the basketball rule to allow student-athletes to test their value in the draft and then return to school for continued eligibility," Big 12 commissioner Bowlsby said recently. "It would, of course, have to go to the football oversight committee and another question is if the FCS will participate."
And there are many more questions, many of which focus on timing, roster size and recruiting. Basketball rosters are 10-15 percent the size of football rosters. While basketball coaches of early entrants must wait weeks for decisions and potentially pass on adding recruits or transfers until his player makes a final decision, the period of limbo is nothing compared to what football coaches would battle with 120-man rosters.
"The opportunity to do this has only been around for a short time," Bowlsby added. "For what we're considering, we've been impressed with the basketball coaches getting behind it because it's not always beneficial to them. The timing (with football) is difficult with the combine and there are a lot of people involved with it. We work closely with the NFL, and I think it's beneficial for them to keep young men in college as long as possible. It's a really good collaboration right now, and one we want to develop components of it."
It'd be great if the NCAA can create a rule that gives football student-athletes more flexibility — and lower the number of early entrants who aren't selected — but it may take a while to hash out the best approach for a sport with many more moving parts.