How The NBA Is Killing The American Education System
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How The NBA Is Killing The American Education System

Why drafting freshman athletes is bad for universities.

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How The NBA Is Killing The American Education System

Since 1946, the year the NBA began, there have been 43 high school seniors drafted into the league. Forty of those have occurred since 1995, when Kevin Garnett ended a 20-year drought of high school draftees when he was selected fifth overall in the first round. He, along with Kobe Bryant, began a trend after showcasing their success.

In 2006 the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was put in place creating an age minimum to enter the league. Now athletes wanting to gain draft eligibility must be 19 years of age and be one year removed from high school. This appeared to be a brilliant plan. Have more kids go to college, study and learn, then continue on their basketball career if they wish. The plan was to be like the NFL where players are pressured to remain in school. It is better for them to finish their degree and then declare for the draft. Instead, we’ve seen college freshman become the number one NBA draft picks in eight of the last nine years.

Instead of coming straight out of high school like Kobe, LeBron and Dwight Howard, kids are going to college for one year, playing basketball and leaving. Many of these “student”-athletes (if you can call them that) are attending public universities as well, playing basketball on full-ride scholarships. Scholarships that are funded by taxpayer money. The NBA makes it appear to these just-barely-adults that their sport is more important than their education. An education many work so hard for in high school and only to wind up not being accepted to a university because that spot is filled by whatever top recruit John Calipari is getting for the draft.

Since 2010, there are have been 19 Kentucky players drafted. Of those 19, 13 were freshmen and two were sophomores when they were drafted. From the 13 that were freshmen, three were selected number one in the draft. These numbers apply only to Kentucky; however, most top sports programs have high numbers as well. Kentucky is tied for the most former players on NBA rosters alongside Duke.

If the NBA wanted to fix this there are two simple ways. The first would be to eliminate the age minimum. If an 18-year-old fresh out of high school wants to play in the big league, let him. The other option would be to follow the NFL. Put pressure on the students to remain in school and finish their degrees. They worked hard enough through high school to stay out of trouble, keep grades up and put in so much time for a sport they love. Let them develop and mature more before handing them a contract for millions of dollars. The majority of these top draft prospects are playing on scholarship. Why not finish school?

Sadly, despite possible solutions, it's a problem that is not being voiced enough. Nothing can (or probably will) change until the CBA expires and the time for renegotiation begins. Till then, stay in school, kids.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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