Derrick Rose and the NBA's Eligibility Rules

Gabriel TaylorAnalyst IMay 29, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 30: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls brings the ball upcourt against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 30, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 128-127 in triple-overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

We've all heard about the importance of education since we were in grade school.

Knowledge is power, the more you learn the more you earn.

But how important is a college education to an NBA player?

Recent reports have indicated that Derrick Rose may have submitted faulty entrance exam scores during his recruitment to Memphis. ESPN has reported that Rose may have had a grade improperly changed and had someone take his SAT exam. .

Rose was selected with the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He had an excellent rookie campaign, garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

Rose followed his impressive regular season with an excellent showing in the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, pushing the defending champions, the Boston Celtics, to seven games in their first-round series.   

Rose may have been better served if he was allowed to go straight to the NBA.

Maybe Rose didn't need a year of college, he most likely went to college because NBA rules prohibit him from going directly to the NBA after high school.

The NBA requires players to be at least 19 and wait at least one year following graduation of their high school class before becoming eligible for the draft.

Unfortunately, after leading his team to the national championship game in 2008, Rose is now being portrayed as a player who couldn't pass an entrance exam.

This is his thanks for raking in the big bucks for his school and his coach, John Calipari, who recently received a $32 million contract.

What about Calipari's latest signee, John Wall, the nation's top point guard? Maybe he was influenced by Calipari's ability to sign Rose, the top pick in the last NBA draft.

Rose is the gift that keeps giving; but it was Rose who took all the risk by playing at Memphis.

Many will argue that Memphis and head coach John Calipari helped Rose reach his dream job. But, that's unlikely, especially if the NBA used its old eligibility standards.

Other recent victims of the NBA's eligibility rules were Greg Oden and O.J. Mayo. There was little doubt that these players would turn pro after one year of college.

Meanwhile, the 2009 NBA final four includes three teams led by high schooler's that made the jump to the NBA.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was the first guard to make the jump from high school to the NBA. Kevin Garnett, Moses Malone, and Darryl Dawkins had size on their side.

Bryant did not disappoint, he has been to be an unstoppable player. Arguably, he's the best player since Michael Jordan.

LeBron James had more pressure than any high schooler that came before him. James had a Hummer, a $90 million contract, and plenty of press long before he played his first NBA game. He overcame the pressure, immediately becoming the best player on his team while being named Rookie of the Year.

Dwight Howard came into the league in 2004 with lots of potential and plenty of work ahead of him. Howard took to the challenge with gusto, lifting weights, working on his defense, and developing into a walking double-double.

Youth has been served in the Eastern Conference Finals where the King (James), faces Superman (Howard), in the Eastern Conference Finals. Though James has been in the league six seasons and Howard five, James is only 24 and Howard is 23.

Bryant, Howard, and James have all been named to numerous All-Star teams.

James was the NBA's MVP. Howard was the Defensive Player of the Year.

All three have shown much maturity and are emotional and statistical leaders for their teams.

These players have proved to be as good or better than all the players with college experience.

Maybe the problem with high school draftees is their experience against high-caliber talent.

Europeans come to the NBA without attending college, but most of them have experience in professional leagues overseas. These players include stars such as Tony Parker, a three-time NBA champion, Yao Ming a seven-time NBA All-Star, and Dirk Nowitzki an NBA MVP.

A few American high school basketball players are now following their lead by going to Europe and being compensated in the years before they are eligible for the NBA Draft.

Technically, no one is forcing players to go to college.

At worst, the players who attend college risk serious injury and the forfeiture of a lucrative career.

At best, the players who attend college receive a college degree and a better chance to make it to the NBA.

But with such a disproportionate amount of NBA stars with no college experience, or a one-and-done year in the college ranks, shouldn't the NBA at least consider a change in its eligibility rules?

Rose is not the first prep basketball player to struggle to obtain the grades and test scores required to enter college. Most observers believed that Garnett didn't attend college because of low test scores.

But Garnett didn't suffer the embarrassment that now surrounds Rose; he was allowed to enter the NBA draft without sitting out a year or attending college.

Rose was compelled to go to college through any means necessary because of NBA restrictions.

Rose's coach has left for another contract at another school. His school has enjoyed the exposure and monetary benefit of having a great player on its roster.

And all Rose has is the bad rep associated with a player who couldn't make the required test score and who cheated to win.


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