No More College Freshmen Playing Men’s Basketball?

Freshmen have not always been allowed to play on their college basketball teams.  In Fact, prior to 1972, college freshmen were unable to play on their school’s football and basketball teams. A new proposal may make freshmen again ineligible to play men’s basketball. Part of the issue is the growing problem of some of the best players only playing for a year and then leaving to play in the NBA.

In 2010, what has been nicknamed the “one-and done” rule was enacted in the NBA, requiring recruits be nineteen years old or a year out of high school to be eligible to be drafted into the NBA. Over the last five years, a freshman has been drafted No. 1 every year, and since 2010, an average of 10 college freshman have entered the NBA draft after only playing basketball for their respective school for one season. Although this benefits the NBA teams who draft the athletes, it harms the college teams who spent the time and resources recruiting the athletes who only play one season for the school.

The current proposal to not allow college freshmen to play basketball for their school is being led by Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. Several other commissioners of some of the top conferences are also supporting the suggestion. Along with the problem of freshmen leaving their teams after only a year of play, Scott and others have offered a variety of reasons for athletes to have to be a sophomore before they can play college basketball. Scott says making freshmen ineligible to play college basketball will allow the athletes to focus more on adjusting to college life both academically and socially. Plus, he believes not allowing freshmen to play will improve the overall quality of college basketball.

Of course, some people think barring freshman from playing basketball is a little ridiculous. A common belief for this way of thinking is that the minimum age to enter the NBA draft should be raised, rather than making college students wait. Whether college freshmen will be ineligible to play men’s basketball and whether the minimum age for entrance into the NBA draft will be raised is still undecided, but it is clear both will continue to be contested issues in the near future.

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