By Brandon Eastman Posted May 30, 2012
Recently there have been many arguments regarding the fact that college athletes are only required to attend college for one year before they are eligible to enter a professional sporting draft. It happens in every sport, but I will be focusing solely on the issues this causes within the NCAA basketball world. I have several concerns regarding this issue.
First of all, college sports have more of a sense of community and family than professional sports. College sports are all about building a program, where you have experienced players who can provide assistance with the younger players. However, because these players are able to leave after one year for the NBA, this is not happening. There are so many “one-and-done” universities across the country. All the top high school recruits choose to go to the same pool of colleges because they know which schools get the most media attention and that’s where they will get exposure. Duke and Kentucky have been known for this for the past couple of years. That means these schools have to recruit a handful of new players every single year because their ‘Fab Freshman’ leave for the NBA.
My next complaint is the age of the players when they enter the NBA. If you only go to one year of college and then enter the NBA draft, you are either 19 or 20 years old. That is not even close to the maturity and experience level that is necessary to compete at the high-intensity level on a daily basis. Also, at that age, you might think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, but when you get into playing games, the older, more experienced players will put you in your place. Your game just isn’t as good as you think it is when you’re competing against Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant. Then you get into the older players, who are past their prime, but still compete at a high level because they are so much smarter than everyone, like Tim Duncan and Steve Nash.
Finally, I have always been taught that getting an education is important. It doesn’t matter if I want to work at a fast-food restaurant for the rest of my life, I will need a fallback plan if that doesn’t work out. The only way to have a fallback plan is to have a college education. To translate this into the basketball world, I will speculate about injuries. If a player leaves school after a year to play in the NBA, and they suffer a career-ending injury early in their young career, what are they supposed to do now? Sure, they could try to make it on the salary they made while they were playing, but young players don’t always make the best money and they only have one year of college education under their belt. They’re going to need to return to school to get a degree before they can go back out into the real world because they didn’t finish it while they had a chance.
I think that the NCAA should require athletes to use all four years of eligibility and receive a college degree before they are allowed to leave for a professional league. This should apply to all college sports, not just basketball.