Friday, December 31, 2010

What's the Point?

It happens every year. The most prized college recruits go to power schools, and smash the competition. Then, after their freshman year is over, they declare for the NBA draft and go on to be first round picks. This is the present state of college basketball, where much of the talent is prematurely sucked out of the game due to the controversial "One year rule."

The one year rule was put in place to deter bona-fide talents from jumping directly to the NBA from high school. It has succeeded in doing this, but along the way has perverted the meaning of the term "student-athlete." Players who just stay in college for one year are on a fast-track to the NBA, and get nothing from the college experience besides the parties, since they do not have to worry about learning something, much less graduating. If athletes are only going to have to stay a year, they do not have to worry about annoyances like being academically ineligible.

What if basketball players were forced to complete at least two years of school? This would increase the chances of athletes actually getting something out of their education, and would maybe give them some incentive to pass their freshman year classes. It would also give them at least two years of schooling from a big university. Besides the extra knowledge gained, this two years would be a good start if they ever want to finish their schooling. When Michael Jordan had to sit out a season early in his career, he was able to finish his schooling and get his degree from UNC because he had already finished three years prior to his being drafted by the Bulls.

As my colleague and friend Sagar Parikh mentioned in an earlier post, John Calipari is the coach who most utilizes the one and done rule. But what do these freshman gain besides a little extra seasoning for the big dance? Nothing. Imagine if LeBron James had been forced to take a few business classes? He wouldn't have had to rely on his loser friend Malcom Carter for business advice, and maybe the "King" would have made better choices down the road. It is time to at least somewhat put the "student" back in student-athlete by making the required stay at school two years. The rules in place at the present time work great for the David Stern, but not so much for the overall welfare of the athletes themselves.

What's the Point is a weekly column written by David Straple. Feel free to comment

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