California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    It’s Time for NBA to End ‘One-and-Done’

    In 2006, the National Basketball Association implemented a mandatory minimum age of 19 as a way to keep young players from entering the league without being prepared. But this rule has created more problems than solutions, and it is time to put an end to it.

    If an 18-year-old high school basketball player is already commanding attention from NBA scouts and is deemed developmentally prepared to play in the league, why should he be forced to wait a year?

    The leagueโ€™s age restriction has instead normalized an unhealthy โ€œone-and-doneโ€ culture where elite high school basketball prospects pick between a handful of the nationโ€™s Division I programs with zero incentive to take their temporary college education seriously.

    And why should they take it seriously? Itโ€™s just a six to seven-month waste of their time before they ultimately pull out of school at the end of their freshman season before the semester is even over. Most go on to become top draft picks, as nine of the first 11 players selected at the top of the 2018 NBA Draft played just one year in college.

    Perhaps the worst part about this age restriction is student athletes are unable to profit from their image and likeness while being held hostage as โ€œamateurs,โ€ a term the NCAA uses to distinguish the players from paid professionals as little as a year older than they are.

    According to a financial statement from the NCAA website, Turner paid $857 million for the broadcasting rights to the 2018 Division I menโ€™s basketball tournament. Inexplicably, the players receiveย zero percent of the revenue generated from the month-long tournament, even though the games could not happen if the players opted not to play.

    Compare that disgusting number to the 40ย to 50 percent of revenue earned by unionized athletes in the four major U.S. sports leagues and you see just one of the reasons why athletes want to go professional quicker, especially those who come from a background of poverty.

    โ€œI believe players should have the option to declare for the NBA draft, while maintaining their eligibility,โ€ said Miye Oni, a junior guard at Yale University. โ€œI believe the NCAA should not be the required path for players to play in the NBA, but should be a main option for players who may need a couple of years to develop their games and bodies before playing professionally. I do not believe the NCAA should have any limitations over players becoming draft eligible whenever they want to.โ€

    Players are not forced to go to college for a year. Since the dawn of the age restriction in 2006, some players have opted to play one year of basketball professionally overseas. Players also have the option to enter the G League,ย the NBAโ€™s de facto โ€œminor leagueโ€ meant for player development.

    In October 2018, the NBA announced that in 2019 the G League would begin offering top prospects the option to sign for $125,000 contracts as an alternative to spending one year in college. This would give some of the top prospects a chance to earn money before entering the NBA draft the following year.

    This is a step in the right direction, but it falls short of allowing athletes to realize their NBA potential right out of high school and providing the insurance of having a spot on an NBA roster.

    โ€œI do not believe players should play in the G League before they are draft eligible,โ€ Oni said. โ€œI believe it can hurt the stock of certain players who are not ready for the pro game. If players are drafted first before then being placed in the G-League, it provides more insurance for young players.โ€

    The time is now to make a change. Not next year. Not in 2021 โ€“ right now.

    Jake Gould