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Opinion: ‘One and done’ rule bad for college basketball programs, fans

Kansas Freshman guard Andrew Wiggins dunks the ball during a game against Eastern Kentucky March 21 at the Scottrade Center. Kansas won, 80-69. Courtesy of MCT

Kansas Freshman guard Andrew Wiggins dunks the ball during a game against Eastern Kentucky March 21 at the Scottrade Center. Kansas won, 80-69.
Courtesy of MCT

It’s almost that time of year again, to say so long to college basketball season until next year … but wait, there’s a few things you won’t exactly be seeing next year. You won’t be seeing some of the country’s top players return for another season.

Many, allowed by the “one and done” NBA draft rule, will enter their names into the 2014 NBA Draft. Players like forward Aaron Gordon of Arizona, guard Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, and forward Jabari Parker of Duke are likely to take their opportunity to abandon the arenas filled with young, hopeful-hearted and spirited university fans to strive toward a game where their wins and successes are no longer a form of mere satisfaction with praise from loyal fans but come in the form of dollar signs and endorsement deals.

This rule requiring players to only attend school one year before entering the draft not only lets down fans, but also allows young athletes into the big leagues a few years before their time.

While there are many requirements for a player to be eligible for the NBA draft, the specific rule being debated here is this “one and done” rule, implemented in 2006. This rule states that any basketball player — at least 19 years old — is eligible for the draft if he has allowed one year to lapse since his high school graduation. This was set forth to encourage high school basketball stars to not follow in the steps of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett and skip straight to the pros.

Many NBA spokesmen have argued against these criteria. Those men only look at the game from a business standpoint and how that rule poses a threat of lost income to them, as the influx of young talent could help boost ticket and apparel sales by helping their teams improve. However, many others feel that requiring players to attend school for at least one year is not nearly enough.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, suggested that players ought to stay in school for at least three years.

I’m going to have to go with Cuban on this one.

Speaking from a fan’s perspective, having players leave their beloved sports team after one year is not only upsetting but a let down. It completely discredits the phrase “we’ll get ‘em next year.” Not only will the team not ‘get ‘em next year’ when some of the best players leave and the team has to start back at square one every year to build team chemistry. Fans fall in love with these players. Children develop role models out of these athletes, but are broken-hearted when they can no longer sport the jersey of their favorite player because the player has moved on to bigger and better things.

Speaking from a human-interest perspective, one year does not allow these athletes time to fully equip themselves for the real world. With having only one year of college under their belt, this won’t give these players anything to fall back on pending a career-ending injury. College is a self-exploration time that gives adolescents the freedom and time to truly discover who they are and learn life skills. These players won’t develop these characteristics when they skip ahead four years.

Call me crazy or an NBA-hater, but imagine what the college ball game would look like if players were required to stay at least three or four years. There would no longer be fear that the best players would not return. These players would have more time to develop their skills, build team chemistry that would lead them to a possible national championship and would establish a stronger and supportive fan base. Not only would these players become better athletically but would be better prepared to handle the professional league and professional world.

While Kansas is not as lucky, with many freshmen entering the draft, Ohio State fans are much more fortunate only losing one, likely two, players that stayed for more than one year, sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle and junior forward LaQuinton Ross. So while we are saddened to see Ross likely forgo his senior year eligibility, thanks for sticking with the Buckeyes for three years. An even bigger appreciation goes out to Aaron Craft for leading the Buckeyes for four solid years and for truly modeling, in my opinion, what college basketball should look like.

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