FanPost

My Thoughts on College Players Staying in School

Mark Cuban, Shaq, bloggers, analysts, and fans advocate that college players should not be allowed to declare for the NBA draft until they are the age of 21 or something above the age of 19.

I'd have to agree with the proposal for the NBA to raise its age of eligibility to an extent. The reason I'm saying this is because we have to define what proponents want to accomplish by doing this. I'm guessing a lot of proponents of this theory expect college players to stay in college to get a good education. If that were the case then I would probably add a clause to this age limit, stating that every amateur player should verify with the league that they had at least 3 years of college education from an accredited school, and that includes foreign players of course. If you just simply raise the age of eligibility, then your just opening the door for college players to drop out and play overseas (or even worse, not do anything productive) until they are 20, 21, or whatever the raised age limit is. In addition to this, being a college student myself, it is pretty hard to earn a college degree in 3 years and that is without doing any extracurricular activities (imagine earning a degree in 2 years, virtually impossible). If these proponents expect a raised age limit to produce NBA players with diplomas, then it better be raised to 22, and give these poor guys time to get their degrees.

Another thing I imagine proponents think that a raised age limit will accomplish is that college will let players learn more about life and thus be more ready for the NBA mentally. Again, being a college student myself, the fact that your are in college does not automatically mean that your going to be a better person in life. To actually be a better person, you have to utilize what college offers you and I've seen and heard many stories about college dropouts and people earning degrees that they don't want because they haven't met with a counselor, haven't spoken with professors, don't learn from their coaches, etc. Coaches, professors, counselor's, and peers can only do so much for a student, it's ultimately up to the student to learn and do something. Yet in saying all this, I totally agree that being in college changes people's lives for the better. You're immersed in an environment that serves as a transition from being student to being an actual productive member of society. I'm just saying all of this because I'm sure some proponents tend to think that this raised age limit is fool proof and I'm just saying it's not.

Yet, what is the most important thing that a raised age limit; shall we be redundant and say limits college players? Money, it's all about the money if you didn't know already. Money makes the world go round. If you raise the age limit to 22 and require amateur players to stay in school, then you have effectively cost them tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars over the course of 4 years. And is that fair to a college player? Almost all of these guys are focused on basketball 24/7 and you don't need a bachelor's in anything to play basketball effectively (that is until they make up some BS or BA in basketball). If you got a LeBron, Kobe, or Garnett who are high school guys ready to take on the challenge of the NBA why are you going to deny them and the fans years of great moments? What we tend to forget is that the NBA has guys who can teach players life lessons and business too. Sure, they're are a lot of duds and that does give good reason to raise the age limit, but then again there also juniors and seniors from colleges that also become D-League material over their careers (refer to Hasheem Thabeet).

And that is what I think is going to be the eternal struggle of these eligibility debates, money vs morality. Deny players money to give them a chance to mature or visa versa to put the argument in its simplest terms. In my humble opinion, if I were to be commissioner, I'd do one of two things when it comes to eligibility in the NBA draft.

1. Readjust the age limit back to 18, if players feel like they can get on a team and a team actually wants them, then by all means go for it.

2. Readjust the age limit to 22, and require that amateur players verify with the league that they have completed 4 years worth of college education from an accredited institution above high school. This will force players to have a good education, raise the probability that they all come out of school with something to show for it (a degree that they actually want), and get the most out of their college experience...hopefully.

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