In 2006 the NBA created a new age requirement for those players wanting to go into the NBA draft. Now players must be at least nineteen years old or a year out of high school to be drafted. This new rule was meant to encourage a college education for players (especially in case of injury) and to make sure players had time to mature before entering the professional field. This means that many players who would have gone straight into the NBA are now going to college to play, but after a year they get drafted and never finish a full education. This doesn’t seem to support the fact that this rule truly encourages education, additionally it seems that this rule also has a negative affect on the teams that these players leave so early on and leaves time for possible injury that would kill their chances at the draft. The new age requirement for the NBA draft was meant to encourage players to receive a college education and allow them to gain experience before entering the professional field, but it does not do this and is in fact detrimental to the college teams they leave behind so early on and leaves these players with the possibility of injury. Basketball players graduating from high school should have the same opportunity to be in the NBA draft as all the other players, but if a player chooses to play at the college level they should be obligated to sign a contract of a minimum of two to three years in order to balance out the negative affects of one and done players.
One of the biggest problems with the new age requirement is that there are players who are ready to go into professional basketball right out of high school and really need the salary that the NBA provides. For example, DeMar DeRozan, one of the top prospects in the high school class of 2008, would have been a lottery pick in that 2008 draft if it wasn’t for the NBA’s 19 years old or a year out of high school requirement. Instead, he spent a year at USC where he was not earning a salary. Meanwhile, Diane DeRozan,DeMar’s mother, suffered from lupus, a painful and destructive disease which causes the victim’s immune system to attack the body’s healthy cells, muscles, tissues and organs. It’s a terrible disease, but it is treatable. Unfortunately it is also very expensive, but a multi-million dollar NBA salary could have covered medical costs for DeRozan’s mother and alleviated the situation they were in. Perhaps not all emerging basketball players are under such tough conditions, but it is their right to have the opportunity to go into the draft because money could be a very large factor in some people’s lives. Additionally, many players argue that going into college basketball is only an opportunity to get injured and never getting into the draft. Many injuries can happen in basketball, but getting injured while playing college basketball is a sure way of getting taken out of the NBA draft. Players who are draft ready out of high school run a big risk by going into the NBA.
College basketball coaches are concerned about the negative affects the new age requirement has on their teams. An extraordinary amount of time and money is spent on recruitment and college scholarships for these star players that only stay on the team for a year. Unfortunately, many of these star college basketball players leave after one year to go on to the NBA draft. This leaves the coaches with spots to fill and sometimes a whole new coaching approach is needed after just one player leaves. The investment that goes into these players is huge and in the end they usually leave the team behind trying to get back to where they were before. Just recently our own Derrick Williams announced he will be leaving for the NBA draft, and coach Sean Miller will have to adjust the team’s strategy and coaching to fit what the team will be like without Williams. In addition there will probably be a time where the team has to get comfortable with this new way of playing and adjusting to the loss of a star player. Many college coaches are against the one and done rule because it does make their teams so unstable. Many coaches would rather give those star players the opportunity to go straight into the NBA and if a player decides to go to college and play basketball then have them sign a mandatory contract for two to three years allowing their teams to become more stable and therefore better.
The NBA’s requirement that players be nineteen years old or a year removed from high school is unfair to the players who are ready for professional basketball and it creates many more negative affects than positive. Players who are ready for the NBA are just using college basketball as a stepping stone into the NBA draft and education is not being encouraged, in addition these players run the risk of getting injured and never playing professional basketball. Players and coaches alike are against the age requirement and it our responsibility to be aware of the situation and support those players that have a right to play on the professional level right out of high school.