The NBA Draft and The Ongoing Eligiblity Debate

Michael BroginContributor IApril 15, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 25:  The draft board is seen after the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 25, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    With the 2010 NBA Draft scheduled to take place June 24th, the traditional declaring of college players is fully under way.  As has been the case for the last several years in regards to the players who put their name in for the NBA Draft, an outstanding majority of them are underclassman.  This recent trend of underclassman declaring for the NBA Draft, has added more fuel to a debate that has been occurring for over the last five years. 
    The debate surrounds the requirements for a player to enter the NBA Draft. Both supporters and opponents of the currently in place requirement of 1 year removal from high school feel that the eligibility requirements should be modified.  Supporters  of the current requirement feel that it should be raised to 3 years removed from high school. Opponents  want to remove the restriction all together, and allow players to enter once again from high school.  This brings to the minds of some, why is it that the NBA is the only Major Sports league to be scrutinized for it requirements to be eligible in its Draft.  The NBA, MLB, NHL, and the NFL all have different requirements for eligibility in their respective leagues.  

    MLB has a requirement that a player can go directly out of high school if they do not attend college, Junior College players can enter whenever they may, if a player attends a 4-year college they must stay till their junior year to be able to enter the MLB Draft. Why is it that there is not a similar backlash to what the NBA endures for its eligibility requirements?

    For a player to enter the NHL Draft they must be atlas 18 years old.  Yet again there is no backlash for the lack restriction that NHL enforces in eligibility restrictions.

    The NFL probably has the toughest eligibility requirements in regards to entering its draft.  A player must three years removed from high school before they can be considered eligible to enter the NBA Draft.  Understandably there is not, and there should not be any negativity directed toward the NFL in their age eligibility requirements.

    Why is it that out of all the leagues previously mentioned, the NBA is continued to be finger pointed at for it failures in the department of Draft eligibility?

Some possible reasons for this fingerprinting may come from the following:
    1) Struggles of underclassmen when entering NBA.
    2) The problems that have occurred on the College level with the phenomenon known as the "one and done".
    3) The lack of preparation for life after a career of basketball.

Possible Solutions to the Eligibility Debate:
    1) Remove the age restriction, and allow players to enter the NBA Draft straight out of high school, similar to a couple of years ago. In turn this removes the "one and done" players from College Basketball, and returns it back to its days of committed to the program players.
    2) Implement an eligibility requirement similar to NFL and MLB, where a player must be 3 years removed from high school before he could be deemed eligible to enter the NBA Draft.  In return this would allow the players to gain their college degree as well basketball knowledge, that they would not have been able to achieve by leaving for the NBA early.

    After taking a further look at the debate about the eligibility requirement to enter the NBA Draft, individuals will continue to disagree on what is the appropriate solution. Some individuals will see the debate one way, and others will see it another, and in the end the issue will continue to be open to interpretation.