Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE)
Recent changes to the way in which the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) determines the eligibility of future NCAA basketball players may result in players educated in Great Britain losing years of eligibility.
The NCAA now judges the completion of GCSEs or Standard Grades (usually aged 16) as the "graduation date" for British students, whilst for American students graduating from high school in grade 12 (usually aged 18) is deemed their "graduation date".
All prospective student athletes receive one postgraduate year subsequent to their graduation date - after which they must enrol in college or lose eligibility. The NCAA permits four years of eligibility for all student athletes but a player who enrols more than one year after their graduation date will be considered ineligible during the first year in college and will only have three years of eligibility remaining. The punishment increases as the number of years between the graduation date and enrolling in college increases.
The GCSE/Standard Grade graduation date can be moved by completing AS-levels or A-levels, Scottish Highers, as well as BTEC National Certificate/Diploma or BTEC 2-year courses/NVQ level 3.
Warwick Cann, British Basketball's Head of Performance, had this to say about the situation:
"This has significant implications for British players who wish to go to an NCAA college. The key is for players, coaches and parents to understand the rules. British Basketball believes there are some flaws in the legislation, namely that the NCAA has put GCSE and Standard Grade graduates on an equal footing with US high school graduates. There is a significant difference in physical, mental and emotional development between 16 and 18 year olds - we plan to address this.
"The best strategy for many British players is to extend their graduation date as much as possible by staying in the UK and completing AS-levels, A-levels, Scottish Highers or BTECs. The players most susceptible are those who go to the US immediately after completing their GCSEs/Standard Grades, as they have few options but to attend high or prep school for just one year before starting college, likely a year or two ahead of their American counterparts."
Cann continued, "I can't emphasise enough how important it is that these rules are understood by those interested in the NCAA experience. As well, players should be wary of those individuals who suggest that moving to the US and playing multiple years of high or prep school after GCSEs or Standard Grades can be done without punishment. They clearly do not know the rules and only the player will suffer."