Some of us are NBA fans, some of us aren't. Regardless of where you fall on that debate, there is no doubt that the NBA and college game are linked. One of the biggest issues the NCAA has had to deal with in recent years is eligibility and the one and done rule. It's been discussed time and time again and I still favor MLB's rule that allows players to go pro out of high school, but if they go to college requires them to do so for at least three years.
Players can't jump to the NBA from high school anymore, but they can go to the NBA after just one year of college ball. The way that the system is set up they can never attend a class in the second semester of their one year or even take final exams and still play out their college season though. It's a bit of a sham of a system, but the NCAA has little say in it and it's completely up to the NBA and NBA Players Association.
Well, Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock has his plan to fix the NBA. Some of it has zero bearing on the college game, but there are a couple parts that do and are worth a discussion.
2. Reach an agreement with the NCAA that allows the top 100 college players/prospects to play in the NBA summer league. Pay the players as interns. Freshman get $25,000, sophomores $50,000, juniors $75,000 and seniors $100,000. Structure the summer league as a playing and educational experience. Teach the players about the history of the league and their responsibility to take care of the league and represent it in a way that grows the value of the league.
4. Devise a first-four-years pay scale that pays a player extra money based on how many years of college he completed. A boy enters the league at 18, fresh out of high school, he earns less than a 22-year-old man with a college degree or even a 21-year-old who developed in college for two or three years. A kid can enter the NBA straight out of high school, but there are financial consequences for the decision.
First thing is we need to make clear that odds are this stuff would have a hard time being agreed to by the NBA, NCAA or NBA Players Association for different reasons. One group may like one part, but the other group would have a problem with it and the group that doesn't like one thing would like another thing, while another group dislikes it. There's a lot of moving part and this isn't meant to advocate that these things being adopted immediately. There are a lot of stumbling blocks, but they're interesting ideas worth discussing.
Personally, I would still prefer the baseball rule over with of these rules. When you have guys like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, the college game would only stunt their growth as basketball players. Sure, everyone can benefit from the social aspects of college and of course the education, but in the greater scheme I think that going pro worked out well for those two, as well as others. School also just isn't for some people and that's fine. I don't think people should have to go to school if they don't want to so keep the preps to pros option available, but making the rest really learn in college, basketball wise, socially and in the classroom would benefit everyone.
That said, if the baseball rule isn't an option (not to say it isn't), then Whitlock provides some interesting ideas. Financial rewards for going to school longer and developing yourself as a better representative of the league is a plus for the players and the league. I also like the idea of the "internship." Right now the best players go to teach at camps, but they spend a lot of that time just playing. Why not just let them play and learn? I don't know about how much they should get paid and I think the numbers suggested by Whitlock are higher than the NCAA would ever allow, but it's an interesting concept.
What do you all think of Whitlock's ideas? They're not conventional and that's a plus. This is an ongoing issue for college basketball and the rules governing it could take a major turn after this NBA season when the new CBA is negotiating so it's certainly a relevant topic. In addition, what are your ideas? Throwing this topic out there from time to time always makes for an interesting discussion.