Momentum is growing for the NBA to abandon the one-and-done policy on high-school players that forces them into a year of college before turning pro — and it sounds like NCAA officials are willing to discuss such a change.
Let’s face it: the one-and-done is an anachronism in today’s modern sports economy, a compromise that really doesn’t serve anyone very well. You could argue that its presence has corrupted NCAA basketball — and we’re guessing the whole Seth Miller incident is just the tip off the iceberg, even if ESPN didn’t get all its facts right in its reporting on the issue — to the point where the sport needs a reboot. The best players should be allowed to move to the NBA (for the big bucks) or the G-League (to develop their game). One could argue that college basketball would do just fine without the superstars: there would be enough great players who entered college for various reasons (including, yes, an education) and some who need a four-year college career to develop. Would there be some loss of interest in college basketball? Yes. Would it really matter? Not as much as hardcore fans would have us believe. Most of the fans throwing down $10 in a March Madness office pool don’t really track the current status of Keenan Evans or how well Noah Dickerson is playing.
It would also allow the NBA to truly work on player development — something that’s been paid lip service in recent years but never fully supported financially. Everyone seems to see the need for a truly minor- or developmental league that exceeds what the G-League does now. The G-League isn’t really a developmental league, as most NBA teams keep a minimum of players to a two-way contract (which makes sense; they’re a bad deal for players), as technically most G-League players are free agents that can sign with any NBA team. To make the G-League a true developmental league will take some more more from NBA teams, a commitment from all 30 NBA teams to support the G-League, and a deal with the players union. Not impossible.
Where will this leave the colleges? John Swofford, commissioner of the ACC, thinks the time is right to reform college baseball ball, per the Roanoke Times:
“A lot of young guys aren’t interested in going to college and prefer to go ahead and start their pro careers,” he said. “The colleges and our programs continue to need to be educationally based, and maybe in a sense we need a reset on that. That would help us.”
Swofford said any plan to do away with one-and-done players would be supported by most college administrators.
“The vast majority of us in college basketball want to see that done away with,” he said.
Expect a lot of debate on the topic in coming months.