- No paying any players;
- No postseason or all-star competition; and
- No charging for admission, parking, raffles, or broadcast rights.
- Players may also only participate in leagues within 100 miles of their home or their institution.
This leads to the annual ritual of seeing both men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes suspended for violating these rules. The most common violations involve playing on two teams, playing for the wrong team or in the wrong league, or playing in a league that was not certified by the NCAA. The intent seems to be to prevent the rise of commercialized summer basketball leagues involving student-athletes. The supporter of the collegiate amateur model sees the NCAA protecting basketball student-athletes from possible exploitation. The critic sees the strict outside competition regulations for the NCAA’s major revenue sport as entrenching the NCAA monopoly. The lack of restrictions in other sports gives fuel to those critics. Highly competitive commercial summer baseball leagues like the Cape Cod League are nationally recognized. Men’s soccer players play in the Premier Development League or PDL, not just in front of paying customers but against professional athletes in many cases. And although no organized summer football has arisen, no NCAA rule prohibits the rise of summer 7-on–7 leagues. Beyond the inconsistencies with other sports, other rules have made the NCAA’s summer basketball certification program obsolete. Back in 1991, basketball players might have ended up participating in highly competitive televised leagues that generated significant revenue. Now the combination of almost universal summer school and summer practice makes it hard for such a league to get traction. The season would be too short and players would have too little time to devote to the outside team. If the NCAA sees value in some of the rules like keeping athletes closer to home and preventing agents from running basketball leagues as tryouts and training grounds, then keep summer league certification. But lose the big stick of eligibility. Coaches now have such control over players lives in the summer that they, rather than the athlete, should be punished if a player plays on too many teams or in an unsanctioned league. That will do more to keep summer basketball in check than even the harshest penalties on athletes.