The Student Voice of MU Since 1955
Friday, October 31, 2014

Column: Collegiate hoops players need to stay in school

Many freshmen basketball players will be picked high in the draft this year.

April 2, 2014

The one-and-done rule is bogus.

The NBA rule states that players must be out of high school for at least one year and be 19 years of age before they are allowed to declare for the draft. Much like any other big business, the NBA is centered on dollar signs, which only creates chaos for the NCAA.

The same scenario occurs every year with athletes opting for the more luxurious NBA over continuing their careers at the collegiate level. After just one year of college ball, top prospects Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis and Joel Embiid will look to cash in as they enter into the NBA draft.

But neither a fantastic college career nor being at the top of the draft board guarantees success or a lengthy NBA career for that matter. Just look at Anthony Bennett and Greg Oden.

Following the 2013 draft, Bennett hasn’t come close to first overall pick expectations and Oden is only now getting back into the league after injuries kept him sidelined since 2008.

Guys like Bennett and Oden, who struggle to make it in the league or see their careers cut short due to injury, are finding themselves out of the league sooner than they expected.

It’s not like these guys are out of luck, though. They still make more money in their short-lived careers than I ever will. But despite the huge amounts of cash they’re being paid, more than 60 percent of NBA athletes become bankrupt or financially unstable after being out of the league for five years.

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Allen Iverson managed to squander $200 million in career earnings over the course of his career and into retirement, and now he has nothing.

It’s not surprising though to see them broke by 35. After all, you’re giving a 19-year-old kid $10 million when they’ve never learned about financial issues. Guys that age have no clue what a financial adviser does, and they don’t care. They’re focused on basketball and living the high life, not considering for a second what they’ll need 30 years from now.

Players aren’t the only ones affected by the awful one-and-done rule. Where it hurts the most is in the NCAA. High profile superstars like Wiggins and Ennis draw waves of attention from across the nation and could continue this trend if they were forced to stick around for three years, as is the rule for college football.

So much time and money is spent on drawing these players to one school or another, yet they trade up after just one year. Obviously, the goal is to win an NCAA championship, but it seems silly to put so much effort into one or two players when an entire season can be ripped away in an instant.

You could argue that forcing these athletes to stay is taking away their right to choose, but if they only stay one year in the first place, what’s the point of forcing them into a year of college? Do we honestly think a year at college is going to mature and mold these players from boys to men? Not a chance.

The superstars know they’re the best and have had their eyes set on the NBA before they even started thinking about college. If they’re going to be forced to go to college, at least make it worthwhile for the benefit of both the teams and fans. Keeping them an extra two years would not only enhance the development of their basketball skills, but it would also allow them to grow up a little more.

Not a single person benefits from the one-and-done rule. If the NBA age limit were to be extended, we might see improvements in student athletes both on and off the court.

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