I read that the NBA is concerned about high school and college players
leaving school early to enter the NBA draft because they don't want to
see young lives and promising careers ruined.
The NCAA is concerned about the same thing, as they want college players
to stick around for more than one or two years. Yet, a solution to the
problem is hard to come up with, and it seems like a problem that will
continue to plague both organizations.
The NBA is looking at the possibility of not letting players into the
league until they are 20. Letting kids right out of high school go to
the NBA isn't really doing the players themselves any good except
monetarily, as many of these players wind up sitting on the bench for a
couple of years. For those that go to college, NBA executives want them
to play at least two years of college ball.
The problem is many high school and college players between the ages of
18 and 20 are too young to handle the pressures that come with being a
pro basketball players. NBA Commissioner David Stern feels a couple of
years of college will help mature them as people and athletes.
The NBA Players Union doesn't like the idea, feeling a person should
have the right to do what he wants, so this 20-year-old age limitation
is already at a standstill. The Players' Union must approve such a
decision, and that doesn't seem likely at this point. NCAA officials,
meanwhile, are toying with the idea of making freshman sit out their
first year of college ball. While that wouldn't be a bad idea in helping
players mature and focus on grades, it doesn't make sense just for the
fact that many coaches depend on new recruits to fill out their rosters
and maybe be big contributors. Such a move would probably hurt the
college game, and give top high school players a reason for going right
to the pros.
There is no clear-cut solution, but the basis of the problem is
obviously money. High school and college players don't leave school
early because they desire fame - they desire the money. First round
draft picks get a guaranteed $1.8 million contract. Many players find
out if they will be first round picks before they enter the draft, and
if they are not they decide to delay going in.
The only way to stem the tide is decide to give these players a
monetary incentive to stay in college or go to college, while cutting
the monetary incentive to go to the NBA.
The NBA should set stipulations as to who gets what based on
experience. If you go to school for four years you should get the $1.8
million. Go to school for three years it's less, and so on down the
line. High school players should get a fraction of the $1.8 million even
if they are a first round pick. Base pay on experience for first-year
players. It's only logical and it's fair. A kid majoring in business
administration doesn't get a bunch of money his first time out in the
As for the NCAA, they should consider not just giving basketball
players, but all athletes, a little of the dough they make from their
sports programs. College sports
are big business. Colleges and universities at the Div. I level are
making money hand over fist, so it's time to once again consider paying
Give players an incentive to stay in school. Paying athletes in
college, and basing their pay on merit their first year in the NBA, is a
joint solution. Whether or not
it is feasible is another story.
It's unlikely the NCAA will pay athletes. They've been fighting that
for years. But it would certainly clean up a lot of problems. The NBA
Players' Union probably
wouldn't budge on their $1.8 million figure for first-year players
The NCAA and NBA each say they want a solution to the problem of
college underclassmen and high school players going to the NBA. If they
wanted to come
up with a feasible solution they could. The powers that be cannot come
up with separate solutions. Rather, they must put their collective heads
come up with a joint answer to the problem.
It's the only way a practical answer to the problem will be reached.
Tom Fakehany/Malibu. CA