By Gavin Jakubek
Many all-time greats are recognized for entering the NBA draft straight out of high school. However, ever since the NBA ruled that a player must be 19 or older to be eligible for the draft, a debate has been fueled, as many disputed the idea of a “one and done” college requirement.
To begin the 2006 season, the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) declared that high school athletes must be removed from one year since their graduation and be at least 19 years of age to enter the NBA draft. This was implemented to raise the level of play in the NBA; the majority of NBA players are experienced and physically developed, in turn leading to better, more entertaining matches for fans. Furthermore, there is a larger risk for NBA owners taking players out of high school, as high school dominance doesn’t always convert to success in the NBA.
Despite the regulation’s largely positive impacts on the NBA, those who oppose the ruling argue that attending college for one year is pointless if your end goal is to enter the NBA draft. According to Mike Krzyzewski, meritorious basketball coach at Duke University, athletes should have the ability to enter the draft out of high school. He states, “I really think that high school players should be allowed to go… You don’t just kind of use the college system as a training ground.” A well-accomplished head coach that has bred dozens of “one and done” players throughout his coaching career argues against the ruling, demonstrating how unnecessary the extra step of college for athletes is.
In my opinion, establishing this agreement in the NBA portrays colleges as something they’re not, as they become increasingly judged by their athletic achievements rather than their academic merits.