For years the there has been debate on what the NCAA’s responsibility should be when it comes to the eligibility of players in Men’s College Basketball. On one side, it is argued that the NCAA has no right to deny an athlete of any age his right to make millions of dollars to showcase his talents at the professional level.
Others argue that the majority of 18-year olds are not physically or psychologically mature enough to handle all the stress and responsibility that are a part of professional sports.
One thing is clear, however. The NCAA’s current “one and done” policy accomplishes very, very little, regardless of which side of the fence you are on.
A few years ago, the NBA, in accordance with their players union, issued a requirement that an athlete must be at least one year removed from high school before he is allowed to enter the NBA draft. This new requirement was based on the premise that for every Kobe Bryant, Labron James and Dwight Howard (all of which bypassed college to declare for the NBA Draft), there are many, many more athletes who fail miserably, due to lack of talent and/or maturity.
While the idea of this rule was admirable, the implementation of it has crashed and burned. Former coach and ESPN analyst, Bob Knight is one of the NCAA’s biggest critics when it comes to this rule for several reasons.
Knight sights that as it stands right now, a college basketball player only has to pass six credit hours in his fall semester, which is only half of what is required for a full-time student. Those players who intend to enter the NBA draft that spring do not need to show up for any classes in the spring semester because they know they have no intention of staying in school.
The NCAA, which is supposed to establish guidelines for student-athletes, seems to be failing to enforcing the “student” part. As with anything, there are obviously loop holes with the current rule. But this is a loop hole that the NCAA can easily fill.
One such suggestion is that the NBA require these athletes to be two years removed from high school before they can enter the NBA Draft. While this suggestion would force college basketball players to actually attend class, it would also be denying cash, life-changing cash, to elite players–something the NBA Players Union will likely argue, and for good reason.
Another, more reasonable option would be to simply require these athletes to take a a minimum of 12 credit hours in the fall semester, which is the minimum required of most students to maintain various scholarships and financial aid. The same requirement should be set for the spring semester, and class attendance could be required.
Coaches and athletic directors should be enforcing this already, but with no established rules from the NCAA, those coaches on the straight and narrow are having to compete with the coaches who are taking advantage of the system.
Until the NCAA modifies this rule or eliminates it all together, college coaches and players will continue to make a mockery of the rule and the NCAA.
Voice your opinion! Do you think the “One and Done” rule is fair? What alternatives should the NCAA and NBA consider?