In 2005, the NBA instituted what would eventually come to be known as the “one-and-done” policy, a change in the rulebook that required players to be at least 19 years old and a year removed from high school before being allowed to declare for the draft. It was a good idea in theory, but in practice, it really just means the best players in the country go to play at Kentucky for a year before peacing out with a handful of college credits in largely useless classes.
While I’m sure the NCAA isn’t complaining about the most talented basketball players being forced to play for them for free for at least a year, it’s not exactly the best look for an organization that prides itself on developing student-athletes. The league decided to address this issue when they set up The Commision on College Basketball last year, and if they decide to listen to its suggestions, it’s only a matter of time before the one-and-done rule is done for.
The NCAA and the NBA will still have to evaluate the plausibility of the advice, but it seems like both sides are ready to let recent graduates pick the path they think is best for them. The G League recently increased its yearly salary to a number LaVar Ball plans to surpass when he starts a developmental league of his own, and while the top players won’t be making anything close to what they would if they were immediately drafted, there could be benefits for both sides when it comes to what essentially amounts to a paid gap year.
At some point, you have to acknowledge not every college athlete came to play school.