Last year, college basketball saw 44 athletes depart for early NBA draft entry without being selected. Some still might have decided they wanted to move on to professional basketball in whatever form was available to them. Had these rules been in place, though, it seems likely a segment of those players would have been in position to further develop their skills before taking a chance on the draft.College athletics always has been an underrated experience for those participating: a cost-free higher education, high-level training and coaching, personal brand promotion, expense-free living and the cost-of-attendance payments that have been ignored by critics alleging athletes get “nothing.”Once name/image/likeness passes, NCAA athletics might not be an easy deal to beat. The NCAA Board of Governors meets Monday and Tuesday to consider the proposals, according to The Associated Press, which reported the recommendations will allow athletes to make individual sponsorship deals with a wide array of business concerns.MORE: UConn president: “Current thinking” is NCAA fall sports will be canceledIt would be up to individual colleges to determine whether that includes athletic apparel companies; most Division I members have university-wide contracts with Nike, adidas, Under Armour or others. Surprisingly, the NCAA would not prohibit identified university boosters from making a deal with an athlete.All deals would have to be disclosed by the athletes to the universities. If approved by the board, the new regulations likely would have to go through the legislative process for implementation in the 2021-22 academic year.As the folderol regarding the NBA’s new “pathway” program for elite high school prospects unfolded last week — with several columnists presaging a rapid decline for NCAA basketball and a Wall Street Journal headline suggesting the plan might be “ending college basketball as we know it” — there was little consideration given to the possibility that top prospects might approach or surpass the $500,000 promised to wing Jalen Green to train and play exhibition games next winter.The college players will have to do more for their money. They’ll have to maintain academic eligibility and play in real games with real consequences, but they’ll also be granted a far grander stage.Whether this is occurring quickly enough for the NCAA’s many critics, permitting athletes NIL rights was the inevitable outcome the moment the working group was formed. The organization does sweeping change slowly, for better or worse. When an effort such as this is put in motion, the committee in charge does not carry the ball to the 1-yard line and then take a knee.“It’s just a matter of time, and the hope would just be to stagger all that’s come with that and the one-time transfer rules,” one former Final Four coach told Sporting News. “The process of putting everything back together with the shutdowns is overwhelming for all the schools, but I’m afraid that’s not being considered with the pushes of this legislation.”MORE: Mark Cuban’s ideas about future of NCAA are a billion times wrongA former national coach of the year told SN he supports the move but is curious to see what the opportunities will look like for each school’s athletes.“It is a continuing and needed progression, along with cost of attendance and other recent changes, toward addressing the amateurism issue in today’s college sports economy,” the coach said.Under current draft rules in the NBA and NFL, athletes being able to market individual memorabilia or sign autographs for a fee may give them freedom to make decisions about their professional futures based less on immediate economic need and more on the ideal timing for such a consequential decision. It hasn’t even been a year since the NCAA formed a working group to consider the various ways in which college athletes’ name/image/likeness rights could be introduced to what they term “the collegiate model.”In so many words, the problem they were tasked with solving was this: How can the players get money and still not be professional? That’s a hell of a question to answer, and all of those considering it have day jobs, so it should be no surprise it has taken this group from May 14 of last year until now to formulate a response.