After a college student declares that they will enter the NBA draft, do they have to finish the school year, or do they have to un-enroll from school (unless they commit back to their school before the spring signing day)?
There are a couple of things here:
- No student has to finish a semester that they enrolled in. They would have to still pay for that semester, but they could drop out at any time (unless you are talking about a military academy, where the NBA draft is not an issue). In the case of an NBA prospect, he would be on scholarship and paying for class is not an issue.
- From the school and NCAA side of things, if the player does not finish the semester then that will hurt the school's Academic Performance Rating (APR). I am not sure if universities offer (or allowed to offer) incentives to players declaring for the NBA to help out with the APR.
- In the NCAA, eligibility is on a per semester basis, meaning in order to be eligible for the spring a player must pass 6 hours in the fall. If a player is a "one and done" type player, they could pass 6 hours of say gym class and then not show up to a class all spring knowing they aren't coming back. Even if a player got hurt and didn't pass a single spring class, they could pass 6 hours of summer school and be eligible again in the fall and repeat the process. After the second year of school, more strict rules come into play such as GPA and total hours passed, along with declaring a major of study.
- Since the workouts for the draft aren't until the end of the spring semester, most players will finish the spring semester in the case that they ever need or want to obtain a degree (obviously, some don't).
Here is an ESPN article I referenced. Through dated (2008) the rules as far as one and done, APR, and eligibility have not significantly changed.