SPORTS OPINION | The NBA’s one-and-done rule is a flawed system in need of reform 

One of the greatest journeys an athlete can undertake is working their way up through different levels and reaching the top: playing in the NBA. 

It’s memorable seeing athletes improve as they play through the collegiate level and then qualify for the draft, so why do you see collegiate athletes leave their school after one season and move to the NBA?  

The NBA established a new rule in 2005 called the “one-and-done rule.” This rule prohibits athletes from joining the NBA directly out of high school. However, after completing one year at the collegiate level, they are then eligible to be drafted into the NBA.  

This rule was created in an attempt to help prepare the athletes for the higher demand of playing at the professional level. The goal was to increase their readiness and prepare them for the physical and mental demands of the NBA.  

How is one additional season’s worth of preparation time helpful? It would be more beneficial to force the athletes to complete the standard four –years of schooling before being drafted or allow them to be drafted right out of high school.  

According to an article by Bleacher Report, “Basically, the one-and-done rule forces high school players to give up multi-million dollar salaries, requires them to partake in the charade of an unwanted college semester (most don’t attend classes after the season ends) and puts them in a position in which a costly lawsuit might be the only remedy.”  

Would high school athletes prefer to spend money for a year of school, or would they rather take the jump to the NBA and start off with a salary so young? 

Zion Williamson is a recent example of this rule, where he played for Duke University for his freshman season and then was immediately drafted to the NBA as a first-round pick for the New Orleans Pelicans.  

A player like Williamson would have made a successful career in the NBA out of high school, and he proved his talent during his first season as a rookie, averaging nearly 20 points per game. He also risked injury during his college season during the NCAA tournament. 

The one-and-done rule forces high school athletes to spend money on a year of college only for them to not continue on, graduate and receive a diploma. It’s additional work the player has to go through to get to the NBA and reach their ultimate goal.  

Has the NBA thought of how the rule would be altered if the athlete doesn’t end up passing classes after the season is over? Another year won’t make an athlete stronger, and if anything, it can risk their chances of making it to the NBA if they have an injury or if they fail classes and don’t pass.  

The article mentioned above said that most of the athletes stop going to class as soon as the season is over. Would they still allow the athlete to be drafted because they are 19 and were in college for a year, or would they deny that because they didn’t pass? 

The NBA’s one-and-done rule remains an issue in the world of basketball. While it was initially introduced to address concerns about player readiness, it has sparked debates about education and financial equity. The future of this rule remains uncertain, leaving basketball fans and players eagerly awaiting potential changes that could reshape the path from high school to the NBA. 

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