WASHINGTON — Most parties involved can agree that the NCAA and NBA’s agreement to make players go to college for one year after high school has done little to help either institution.
According to ESPN reports, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts met with the new Commission on College Basketball on Thursday to discuss how to move forward on the draft eligibility rules.
NBA insiders believe that Silver favors a choice after high school, where players can enter into the NBA draft right away or choose to go to college. But if they do choose to go to college, they commit to playing at least two seasons.
Even if that is his preference, he would need buy-in from both the NBA Player’s Association and NCAA. Washington Post columnist John Feinstein offered another solution that already exists in his weekly call with the Sports Junkies.
“The solution is pretty simple, but the problem is that you’ve got to get the players’ union to buy in. It’s in the CBA,” Feinstein said. “What they should do is the baseball rule.
“For one thing, there’s legal precedence for it. The baseball rule, as you guys probably already know, is that when you graduate from high school, you can go into the draft. Not only can you go into the draft, but you can find out where your draft position is and how much money you’re going to be offered to turn professional.
“If you decide that it’s not enough money, or you decide that you want to go to college because you don’t want to ride the buses like you do in the minor leagues, no matter who you are, you can go to college.
“But if you enroll in a four-year college, you can’t go back in the draft for three years. To me, that’s the best rule.”
“That way, you’re not denying anybody–LeBron James, Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant–the right to come out and play in the NBA when their games are ready.”
The current set of rules was established in the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement and first went into effect for the 2006 NBA Draft. Since then, players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and John Wall were all one-and-done players.
That isn’t the only route to NBA success, however. Superstar Stephen Curry attended Davidson for three years, Russell Westbrook attended UCLA for two years, and both were taken in the top-10 picks in their respective NBA Drafts.
Feinstein warned that no system is perfect, but this would at least give college players a chance to mature.
“My big issue with the 18 and 19-year-olds is are they ready as men?” he asked. “To travel the way that they travel, to have the ‘opportunities that they receive’ on a nightly basis at the age of 18 or 19? To be in the care of agents, most of whom are sleazebags?
“For the exceptional kid, who can make big, guaranteed money, who knows the money is there when he goes in the draft…and he wants to turn pro, fine. If he doesn’t want to take the risk, he’s not ready, whatever, then go to college for at least three years.
“You have to be a real student, you have to meet the requirements to play by passing classes. And if you stay in college for three years, there’s a decent chance that you’ll graduate at some point, if not right away.”