Early Departures for NBA Hurt College Basketball

Joseph AlbersonAnalyst IApril 17, 2008

It’s that time again where college basketball coaches wonder, “will my superstar freshman choose to stay in school or jump for the money and fame of the NBA?”

The trend of “one and done” for college basketball players has become more common with the likes of Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, and Eric Gordon making the jump to the NBA after just one season at their respective schools.

This dilemma is due in large part to the adoption of the 19-year-old age requirement to enter the NBA Draft by commissioner David Stern.

While some believe this trend is more detrimental to the athlete, I believe that college basketball programs are the ones receiving the raw deal.

College basketball is the only sport out of the big three that allows players to turn pro after just one season of college athletics.

The NFL requires athletes to be out of high school three years before they can declare for the draft.

Baseball allows athletes to turn pro out of high school, but if they do choose to attend school, they must commit to three years at the university before they can declare for the draft.

The NBA and NCAA need to adopt a similar rule for basketball to better benefit the college basketball programs.

Take Ohio State for example. With the likes of Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., the Buckeyes of 2007 advanced to the national championship game, only to fall to the Florida Gators.

Fast forward one year, Oden and Conley have both departed for the NBA and Ohio State failed to make the NCAA Tournament.

If Oden and Conley both had been required to commit for at least three seasons at Ohio State, the Buckeyes would have remained competitive instead of taking a major step back.

I propose a rule similar to that of baseball. Allow players to turn pro out of high school, but if they choose to enter college, they must commit to at least three years to that program before turning pro.

It’s only fair to the coaches who spend the time and effort to recruit the players to their schools to have a long term commitment from the athlete.

Of course, it’s only my opinion and I’m more partial towards college athletics than professional athletics anyway. 

Turn this article into a debate and leave your opinion on the issue in the comments section.