This is the second year of the NBA's new policy of restricting the NBA Draft to players nineteen and older, causing many of the top high school players who would have gone straight to the pros to go to college for one year. Many people around college basketball think it is a great rule because the talented freshmen improve the college game. Freshmen sensations Greg Oden and Kevin Durant swept the nation with Oden leading
Other critics claim that the new age restriction hurts college basketball and the NBA. All the top freshmen are “one and done”, just playing for one year then bolting for the NBA. This new “one and done” trend is related to the recent success of the mid-major conferences. It isn't so much that the mid-major teams have gotten better; the major conference teams have just gotten worse. The mid-majors don't get top recruits, but their players stay for all four years, and it is their experience that has made them so successful. For example, look at the 2006 NCAA Tournament and George Mason's upsets of
The problem is that you have kids being forced to go to college even though they really don't want to be there. Dick Vitale proposed a rule to make players stay for at least three years. He includes an exception for extremely talented players like Kevin Garnett and LeBron James to go straight to the NBA out of high school. Jermaine O'Neal, who went straight to the NBA out of high school, has criticized the NBA's new rule, stating that racism was the reason why they implemented the age restriction in the NBA, but not in the MLB or NHL. However, the real reason for the rule isn't racism or providing kids an education; it's all about the money. Basketball and football are very popular collegiate sports, but nobody cares about college baseball or hockey. With NBA talent like Oden and Durant in college, ratings soared for college basketball, producing a lot of money for the networks. That's why there's an age restriction in the NFL. College football and basketball generate too much money, and if all the top talent jumped straight to the pros the college game would become irrelevant.
I think the rule is beneficial to the majority of high school prospects. Most players aren't like LeBron James, ready to lead an NBA team straight out of high school, and college gives them a chance to improve their game against better competition. Look at