Candidates Now Eligible After Four Full Seasons of Retirement
SPRINGFIELD, MA – On the Birthday of Basketball, December 21st, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will announce its list of eligible candidates for the Class of 2016 with modifications to its enshrinement process, now allowing Players to become eligible on the ballot for Hall of Fame honors after four full seasons of retirement. The change was one of three proposals for change presented by the Election Process Committee and passed unanimously on November 23rd by the Hall of Fame Board including to cease the work of the ABA Direct Election Committee and to increase the number of finalists considered to the Honors Committee from the Women’s Screening Committee.
“After recommendations from our Election Process Committee, consisting of highly respected Hall of Famers and board members, three changes to the enshrinement process have been approved in the best interest of the game, including to acknowledge our many deserving candidates in a more timely manner upon the conclusion of their careers,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “This will allow the best in the game to be welcomed into the Hall of Fame with a timelier context and higher historical relevance to be celebrated by fans that have supported them over the years.”
A complete official list of eligible candidates will be released on the Birthday of Basketball, December 21st. As in years past, Finalists for Class of 2016 will be announced on Saturday, February 13th at NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, Canada. The entire Class of 2016 will be unveiled on Monday, April 4th at the Men’s NCAA Final Four in Houston, Texas.
“Our previous requirement for Players was to be retired for five full seasons, when in reality the schedule of the process led to a timetable of six calendar years after retirement,” said Doleva. “This is well in excess of our major sports Hall of Fame counterparts and it is time for these legends to be recognized in a more timely manner.”
The second change was to permanently cease the work of the American Basketball Association (ABA) Direct Elect Committee. The ABA Committee was introduced along with four other categories in 2011 by the Election Process Committee to address underserved groups to be fully considered by category-specific specialist voters. These committees were established to make sure that the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame election process was inclusive through the additions of the International Committee, the Veterans Committee, the Early African American Pioneers Committee and the Contributor Committee along with the ABA Committee. These committees, as stated when introduced in 2011, may be dissolved by a board vote when it has been determined the committee’s task is complete. The direct elects from the remaining four other committees will be announced as part of the entire Class at the Final Four in April.
“Over the past five years the ABA Committee has fulfilled our promise by honoring legends such as Artis Gilmore, Mel Daniels, Roger Brown, Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard and Louie Dampier,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Board agreed with the Election Process Committee that the appropriate evaluation for this broader group of ABA candidates has been reached; ABA candidates remain eligible for consideration through other respective committees.”
The third change approved by the Board was to increase the limit of the maximum number of candidates from the Women’s Screening Committee put forth as finalists to the Honors Committee to four versus the current two in light of the overall growth of the women’s game and the establishment of a long term professional women’s league in the WNBA, whose marquee players are now becoming increasingly eligible for Enshrinement.
A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. All elected members, along with the four direct elects, will be announced prior to the NCAA Championship Game in Houston on April 4. The Class of 2016 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts this September.
Candidates must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for Enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (hereafter BHOF):
Player: A player must be fully retired for four full seasons before being eligible for Enshrinement. He/she may then be considered for Enshrinement in the fifth year of retirement. Should a player come out of retirement for a short period of time, as defined by the BHOF, his/her case and eligibility for Enshrinement shall be reviewed on an individual basis.
Coach: A coach must be either fully retired for four full seasons or, if still an active coach, have coached as either a fulltime assistant or head coach on the high school and/or college and/or professional level for a minimum of 25 years. That person will then be considered for Enshrinement in the fifth year of retirement or 26th year of active coaching.
Referee: A referee must be fully retired for four full seasons or, if still an active referee, have been an active referee for a minimum of 25 years. That person will then be considered for Enshrinement in the fifth year of retirement or 26th year of refereeing.
Contributor: A person is eligible for Enshrinement as a contributor at any time for significant contributions to the game of basketball. What constitutes a "significant contribution" shall be determined by the BHOF, its Board, and/or the Contributor Direct Elect Committee
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.
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