Thursday, January 14, 2010

When The Game Ends We'll Sing Again

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan weighed in today on the NBA's age limit, claiming that the highschool-plus-one-year minimum for draft eligibility "taints" post-secondary educational institutions with one-and-done players who have no interest in their college curricula. To Duncan I would respond: Yes, the one-and-done phenomenon is a mite silly, and does debase universities when freshman players on scholarship don't even bother to attend their spring classes. A better solution would be to raise the age limit by one additional year. Just as the NFL requires players to spend three years practicing their sport after high school, would it be so bad if the NBA required two years? Young aspirants can always play in the NBA Development League if college is not their thing.


H.O.S.S. said...

NFL is totally different. Given the toll that pro football takes on a player's body, it is imperative that players bodies are fully developed before entering the league. Nobody has attempted to justify the NBA age minimum as a rule meant to ensure that players are physically fit enough to play in the NBA.

And BA, tell us again why a 2-year minimum will encourage pro athletes to respect the college education? Seems the incentives militate in the opposite direction...

Anonymous said...

BA's argument reminds me of a goat


Bhel Atlantic said...

It's not necessarily an issue of physical maturation, but more maturation of their game. MLB and NHL also allow 18-year-olds fresh from high school to play in their professional minor leagues, but, with rare exceptions, they don't get called up to the big leagues until a couple years of apprenticeship. I would not object to a formalization of this custom.

As I've said before, I think it's in the interest of the NBA to see players in more competitive settings than their local high school circuit, before deciding to draft such players and give them millions of dollars.

Anonymous: Can you say more about what you mean?

Bhel Atlantic said...

H.O.S.S.: If players are required to spend two years in college (or three, as in the NFL) then they need to make some effort to attend and pass their classes in every semester but the last. Sure, we know of stories in big-time NCAA sports programs where players received shady assistance with academics, but these can be monitored and regulated. I am uncomfortable with the one-and-done setup in which players feel little investment in their campus.

I'm not suggesting that we should foist a college education upon every player; there are certainly developmental alternatives to the college basketball circuit.