We have written it before: No one forces the high school basketball player to go to college. It’s a choice, for after all, there are professional opportunities out there besides the NBA (which has had a rule for awhile about only drafting players at least 19 years old). Now that the foremost pro basketball league in the world is going to revise that labor-restrictive rule, there are serious sighs of relief.
Previously, there were ops in both the U.S. and Europe for players to go pro after high school, while waiting to be draft eligible for the NBA. Most players decided to go to college, though, to exploit that system while waiting for the NBA to come calling, leading to the current atmospheric nonsense of NIL money, etc. We’ve beat that horse to death, elsewhere, already.
Now, this move by the NBA will free up the enterprising high schoolers to “go pro” right away, and if they don’t get drafted by the NBA, then maybe they will go to college—or more likely utilize other professional avenues already available to them. The point is the high-end talent will go to the pros directly soon, and the colleges will go back to being something closer to what they were originally intended to be.
That’s good news for everyone, as it limits corruption at the college level, as the money brokers aren’t going to be throwing lots of money at middling talent that can’t go pro eventually, and more student athletes, in the true sense of the label, will have a chance to play college ball. Sure, maybe the quality of play “decreases” in the NCAA Tournament, but it won’t turn alumni and fans away from March Madness.
Nope, everyone still will tune in to see their schools play, even if the best players aren’t “the best players” of yore. The money in the college game still will be made by the NCAA and the schools, and the players who want money instead of an education can go chase that on their own dime—not on the public taxpayer’s dime(s). We can perhaps see a future now without (as much) cheating in college sports.
(Now, if the NFL would just follow suit and establish a pro pathway for high schoolers right after of graduation, our world would be much improved … do we dare dream?!)