The NBA One-and-Done rule adopted for the 2006 NBA draft and
in place today is the following:
who wish to perform in the NBA must:
Be at least 19 years of age
OR be one year removed from high school
If players do not satisfy these stipulations,
they will not be allowed to enter their names into the annual NBA Draft
For the sake of education and most importantly, the future
of these players, the One-and-Done rule must be changed. Being 19 and/or one year removed from high
school does not provide these young players with the skills they need to manage
their money, or succeed after their career with the NBA is over. Keep in mind, 10 years as a professional
athlete in the NBA is considered a good career.
In the best case scenario that leaves the 19 year old player at the end
of their sports career, 29 years of age, with no education or skills. There needs to be a stricter policy adopted,
There are NCAA rules put into place that certain levels of
education must be reached to be eligible to play sports in college. So, why can't there be a rule put into motion
that forces an athlete to achieve a certain level of education before the
decision is made to play professionally?
The epidemic of professional athletes mismanaging their
money is real. Statistics show that 68%
of NBA players file for bankruptcy within 2-4 years of retirement. This is happening because they are rocketed
into the professional sports world of big money without enough education or
real-life, practical experience.
ESPN's 30 for 30 series episode titled, "Broke" outlines this in a
number of interviews with retired players.
If you haven't watched it, we suggest you do. It is eye opening.
When I played college basketball in the late 80s, early 90s,
the One and Done Rule wasn't even a thought.
Back then, players played all four years, or rarely came out early their
junior year. Shaquille O'Neil did the "unthinkable" and declared for the NBA
Draft his sophomore year in 1992. And it
was a highly controversial move when Kevin Garnett joined the 1995 NBA Draft
right out of high school.
Now it is commonplace to play professionally as soon as
possible, as young as possible. Much of
the motivation for this is the big payday that comes after the first
contract. So, if a player can get into
the NBA and get his first three years behind him with success, the next
contract should be very, very lucrative. That third year would have been their
senior year in college. Also, since pro
athlete careers are extremely short; the more years you can play
professionally, the more money can be gathered. One thing for sure, ageing is
inevitable if you can stay alive.
I understand this thinking.
Back when I was in high school if I knew that I was such a great talent
that I could ultimately play one year of college basketball and move onto
playing professionally AND make enough money to not have to worry about money
again, I doubt I would have worried about my education. Like the next person, I like money.
I know that schools use athletes to make huge amounts of
money. But players in turn use big program schools to promote their talents and
help position themselves to earn millions of dollars. Some top talent opt to
play overseas for the year, or soon to be two years before entering the draft,
but only a few have gone this route. The
better approach is to go to a big college program.
Why isn't there a life-skills curriculum program to be made
available to them? Maybe the One, or
Two-and-Done can include enrollment in a life-skills/financial literacy program
to help educate these players about the money they have and are earning. Better
yet, why not have these players stay in school until they earn a degree? Living
someone else's life is impossible, but rules COULD be changed that may steer
players to better understand the critical importance of getting an education.
Curriculums can be made available to the athletes that best suits their needs,
like what to do with millions of dollars.
I have some ideas about how this
could be accomplished:
Each person earning a scholarship to play a
sport in college should do so with the intent of GETTING AN EDUCATION.
If a student-athlete is on track with their
education and signed up to obtain their degree, they can be made eligible to
enter the draft after their second year from high school.
The players can continue to earn a degree, as
slow as it may take them-or pay back the scholarship
As long as the player is enrolled and taking
classes, even if it is one class at a time, they do not owe for the
schooling. But as soon as they are not enrolled, the money is owed back for the entire amount of schooling up to
Many schools require students to be on campus
for their final 24 or 36 hours of schooling.
This is near impossible for the athlete to return to the school because
they are playing basketball elsewhere. Nowadays, many schools have the capability of
offering online courses. There should be
a way for the athlete and the university to work together to figure out the
best solution. This may include that the
professional athlete attends a certain amount of college games when possible to
bring value back to what will hopefully be their Alma Mater.
Obviously I don't have all the answers, but I do know the
importance of an education. These ideas
might not be the best solution for everyone, because some people are simply not
meant to get a degree, or have the noodles to earn a degree, but it would put
an importance and larger value on an education and preparation for life after
How can we put a larger emphasis on the importance of
getting an education?