NCAA Men’s Basketball “One and Done” Rule — Good or Bad?
by NextGen Journal | Everywhere
Just as we were coming to love the unibrow, we must now say goodbye. University of Kentucky freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, and sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb are all expected to be drafted to the NBA in the 1st round on June 28. If Davis is the top pick, he will be the fifth freshman in six years to go No. 1, following Greg Oden, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Kyrie Irving.
Before 2005 players were allowed to enter the draft right after high school. Now they don’t have to attend college, but they must typically be one year removed from graduating high school. The NCAA, as well as university administrators and coaches, has complained about the rule in the past, but they have little power in changing it. The rule is enforced by the NBA, who intends to keep it in place.
However, NBA commissioner David Stern speaks frequently about the rule, particularly around NCAA tournament time, and said he is bothered by the misconception that athletes must attend college.
“That’s not our rule,” he said today, as reported by the Associated Press. “Our rule is that they won’t be eligible for the draft until they’re 19. They can play in Europe, they can play in the D-League, they can go to college. This is a not a social program, this is a business rule for us. The NFL has a rule which requires three years of college. So the focus is often on ours, but it’s really not what we require in college. It’s that we say we would like a year to look at them and I think it’s been interesting to see how the players do against first-class competition in the NCAAs and then teams have the ability to judge and make judgments, because high-ranking draft picks are very, very valuable.”
On the one hand, there are those that argue that players should be required to get a degree. Since not everyone will be a Kobe or LeBron, what happens if a player gets hurt, or simply doesn’t make it in the big leagues? But then what are the solutions to this — should the NCAA put more pressure on the NBA to revise the rule? There is clearly something that many people find unsettling about Calpari taking such bold advantage of the ‘one-and-done team.’ What are the solutions?
On the other hand, there are those that say players should be allowed to seize the professional opportunity if it arises. As Connecticut women’s coach Geno Auriemma told the New York Times, “If the idea of college is to prepare a student for a career and that career presents itself after a year or two, why shouldn’t the student take advantage?” And as Calipari himself explained, “There’s only two solutions to it: Either I can recruit players who are not as good as the players I’m recruiting, or I can try to convince guys that should leave to stay for me. You have a young man that can leave after a year and he’s going to be drafted in the first five picks, first 10 picks. How do you tell him to stay?” Another positive that comes from the rule is that it keeps NBA scouts out of high school gyms.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a look at other models in professional sports:
1. Baseball — Players can enter the draft right out of high school, but players who do not enter the draft directly out of high school and choose to attend college are not eligible again until after they turn 21 or complete their junior season.
2. Women’s Basketball — The WNBA requires that players stay four years in college or turn 22 the year they leave. Baylor star Brittney Griner, the Associated Press Player of the Year, and Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins will both turn 22 in time, but have chosen to remain in school for their last year.
“Everybody tells me I can make millions, but money isn’t everything,” Griner, told the Times in an article Monday. “Money doesn’t buy happiness. And I made a commitment. When I make a commitment, I keep my word. And these are your best years, in college. I’m just trying to have my full experience. It was never tempting. I never really even had to think or debate about it.”
3. Football — Players who have been out of high school for at least three years are eligible for the NFL draft.
What do you think? Should the NBA reform the rule to require an older age for eligibility, or should it maintain the current “one-and-done” situation? Does this rule represent a flaw in our beliefs about college education?