Goodbye to the NCAA?

It is seen every year in all sports. The top prospects sit at a table and choose a collegiate hat to put on to show which program they will be attending the next fall to further their athletic career. Football does it, baseball does it, basketball does, and so on. But the difference is when they choose that school are they choosing a school that they will be at for the next couple of years to pursue an education and an athletic career or just for a year and then be done. For football and baseball, once one decides to go to college they cannot be drafted into professional sports until after their junior year. However, in basketball one can go for one year and then declare for the NBA draft. That is the concept of the “one and done” idea that been thrown around for such players as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and Carmelo Anthony and many more elite players in the NBA. This strategy of going to one year of college and then going to the NBA to bring in the cash money is seen mostly in the elite of the elite colleges. Coach John Calipari of the University of Kentucky is a professional at running a program off this idea. With the likes of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd Gilchrist, and Nerlens Noel all coming for one year and then all getting drafted in the top ten picks in the NBA draft, Calipari recruits these top profile players to play one year and then help them get drafted. But the question at hand is do these kids actually get the education they want or would an alternative to the NCAA be better where kids can go straight from high school to play basketball and get paid?

Mark Cuban is the very outspoken owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. He recently came out saying that he thinks it would be more beneficial route for elite high school basketball players to go straight to the NBA development league or D-League for short to help their dream of going to the NBA. The D-League is similar to that the minor leagues in the MLB, where young players can enhance their abilities and prepare themselves for the next level with the help of teams connected to the NBA. Cuban talks about how the players are in college they are not even going to class or taking vigorous classes but focusing only on basketball the day they step foot on campus in the fall because they only have a couple of months before they have a chance to leave the campus once again and move up in the world. Cuban talks about the idea of having kids go start to the NBA D-League, which is already acceptable for anyone above the age of 18, where first off they can get paid for what they do unlike where that is illegal in the NCAA and the D-League can provide more resources to help these kids than the NCAA can. He talks about getting the kids tutors to help continue their education while also pursing their professional dreams without the two interfering whereas they would in the college because if you are failing school you are not allowed to participate in sports during that time in college or can get in trouble for having outside help. So why not take a chance at making money and pursing your dreams instead of wasting a year going to classes you do not care about and trying to avoid all these rules that a simple car ride or dinner could ruin your dreams at bigger and better things.

These cases are very similar to that in the book Sugarball and the documentary Pelotero. Just as Michael Sano, Jean Carlo Batista, and other Dominican baseball players, high school basketball players are looking for that paycheck and that chance of playing on the biggest stage in the world. Many of these elite players are coming from hard up bringing and the slightest amount of money could make a difference. So why not take that check get your mom and dad a house and get to business making your dreams come true. One can already see this infractions college players get from meeting with agents or someone associated to NBA whether it is themselves or someone in their family. These actions can affect they way one gets drafted which is tens of thousands of dollars.

So why not just avoid and skip all the hypocrisy of the NCAA like Cuban was said and go live out your dreams. College is supposed to be the time of one’s life but if you are only focusing on getting out as soon as possible why even go? I believe that Cuban has a very good point here and believe that sooner rather than laters players will start realizing this option they have. The only reason it is not seen very much is because the NBA does not market this idea to the kids but I believe that they would be able to take the one from the one and done idea as Cuban states. Its just like baseball in the idea once money is involved more and the chance to change one’s life completely things start to change in the parties involved. Look at college baseball for an example. A high schooler can get drafted after their senior year of high school and go start to the minor leagues while cashing that check on the way to rookie ball. Every year kids get drafted and forgo college to get paid and get started on their dreams of becoming a pro, a dream they have had way longer than the dream of going to freshman English class at 8 am three days a week. Soon these paths around college will be wide spread and very popular because they provide a path of wealth, which no one can deny they do want one that check with the zeroes is in front of you, and a chance to reel in those dreams from youth ball. The NCAA may have reached its peak and be on the way out now.

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