In today’s society, people are always looking for loopholes to make their lives easier or to gain short-term success. Some of the restrictions that have frustrated many prospective professional basketball players, are the NBA draft eligibility restrictions which the NBA has placed on college athletes, requiring that they attend college for a minimum of one year. The current rules regarding the NBA draft eligibility are not in the best interest of the players or the colleges which they choose to attend.
In 2006, the NBA signed a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which stated that teams will no longer be able to draft athletes directly out of high school. This caused a dilemma for athletes who wished to enter the draft and not attend a college or university. The new rule required prospective athletes to do one of three things: Attend college for a minimum of one year (one and done), play in another professional league for for a minimum of one year or take a full year off after high school. The most common route is college, as it allows players to showcase their talents on the national spotlight.
Looking from the athlete’s perspective, college is an intriguing option. Most players will be receiving free education, have flexible schedules, and will play basketball on the national level. When players decide to leave college after one year, they are betting on that they will become a star. These players are held to a higher standard than others because they are almost always expected to become “the next big thing”. While a majority of them find their place in the NBA, there is no shortage of “one and done” busts. For example, Anthony Bennett played at UNLV for one season and averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game. Although it was a surprise when the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him at number one, the expectations for him were sky high. During his rookie season he averaged four points and 3 rebounds, hardly what anyone would expect from the number one draft pick. He was traded during the following offseason, and he is now no longer playing in the NBA. Bennett simply was not ready for the NBA and could have used any of his remaining three years of NCAA eligibility to develop more skills. However, he chose to take advantage of his opportunity to get drafted, but it did not work out in his case.
For colleges, acquiring a top tier high school player is a no-brainer; it will boost the income of revenue for the basketball team, and will help the team gain national recognition – however, some teams will only experience these benefits for one year as a result of the one and done option. For example, the University of Texas received a commitment in 2017 from Mohamed Bamba, one of the best prospects at the high school level Bamba chose Texas and the school was ecstatic that they were able to acquire a player who would put them back on the map (the last player of his caliber to attend Texas was Kevin Durant in 2006). When an athlete decides to enter the draft after a single year of college, they tend to affect the team in a negative way, causing them to underperform. This does not benefit the college in any way and leaves them struggling until the find another recruit.
On March 17, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, told the media that high school prospects should not be required to attend college to gain NBA eligibility, allowing talented players to enter the NBA straight out of high school. The upside to this option is the colleges will not be in a bind after the player leaves, however, it does not solve the problem of sending unprepared players to the NBA. Instead of 19 year olds competing against superstars, they could be squaring off against someone their own size.
The other option is to require athletes to attend multiple years of college. If a college athlete competes for three years, they will be more prepared for the NBA and their life after their NBA careers. However, if the NBA were implement this rule it could receive staunt opposition from the players. It reduces the total amount of money they would be able to make, and shortens their playing careers.
No matter what the NBA decides to do with this problem, the “one and done” rule should be changed. It does not benefit the player or the college he attends, and until the NBA changes rules regarding player eligibility, both sides will not reach a satisfactory end.
Bonagura, Kyle. “Pac-12 Task Force Proposes End to ‘One-and-Done’ Age-Limit Rule.”ESPN, ESPN, 13 Mar. 2018, www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22742996/pac-12-task-force-proposes-end-one-done-age-limit-rule.
“Anthony Bennett.” Anthony Bennett, Basketball Reference, www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bennean01.html.
“NBA Draft.” NBA Draft, Wikipedia, 14 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_draft.