I’ve long been opposed to the NBA’s one year beyond high school policy. Obviously the NBA is a business and businesses want to protect their financial interests. The NBA is only helped by having young guys grow up and get years of free publicity and branding while the NBA waits to profit off their celebrity. Current NBA players like having a few less guys fighting for their roster spots. But the OJ Mayo situation is leading some to question the conventional wisdom that the ban is good for college ball.
The big question for sports fans should be: what’s good for the athletes themselves?
A lot of guys have been ruined by leaving for the league too soon, but should we deny kids who are capable of getting paid to play that option? And can we support the charade of student athletics?
We need more safeguards but less outright restrictions. One small step is that teams who draft anyone without a degree should have to deposit 50 grand a year in some kind of education/career training fund for that athlete for their first four years, money that would be forfeited to scholarship programs if the athlete became a legitimate NBA star.