There’s been many discussions about the NCAA “One-And-Done” rule, whether it should be changed, how to fix it, and so much more. I hear people say that the NFL has a rule for players to stay three years past high school graduation before they are eligible for the draft. This is true, but it’s a safety reason, because the size and strength of the players in the NFL is drastically differently than those in the NCAA levels as a whole. (There will always be the Jadeveon Clowney of the NCAA, but he’s the exception, not the norm.)
To fix the one and done situation in college basketball, it would take work by the NBA, the NCAA, the student athletes, and the colleges together to make it work. The NCAA has to be willing to accept the fact that if they want to keep kids in college longer, then they have to be willing to change with the times. The NBA has the resources to assist the NCAA in giving the kids additional benefits they are looking for. The colleges have the ability to ensure the kids have all the information they need to prepare them for life after college as they begin to prepare for the NBA.
My proposed changes are structured to reward the student-athletes in basketball for remaining in college, while helping to develop more mature players for the NBA. The players would be eligible to declare for the NBA draft after their freshmen year, however, not eligible to play in the NBA until after their sophomore year. Teams would have the option to draft freshmen players with contingencies for them to return to college for their sophomore year. If a freshmen player declares and is drafted he cannot be redrafted (in hopes of improving his draft pick status) unless he stays all four years in college. The NBA team drafting the player would own the rights to the player for 2 years (sophomore and junior seasons in college if declared after freshmen season). If a freshmen student-athlete declares for the draft and is undrafted they can either elect to sign NBA free agency tender or redeclare for NBA draft after 2 additional collegiate seasons.
The student-athlete would not be eligible to redshirt after returning to school without voiding their NBA contract (injury redshirt is available if injury occurs and coordinated with both the school and NBA). The student-athlete would have the option to use NBA approved doctors to oversee medical needs, providing medical options that may not be available to them through school medical providers.
The student-athlete would receive 5% of the rookie salary they are entitled to during their sophomore season (if they opted for the draft after their freshmen season) or 10% if they opted for the draft after their sophomore season. Example, Anthony Bennett declared as a freshmen and was the #1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Under my proposed plan he would have returned to UNLV for his sophomore season, where he would have received $221,845[i] for the season, which the NBA team drafting him (Cleveland Cavaliers) would be able to make monthly payments of $18,487.08. This money could be used for things such as buying a car, clothes, traveling to visit family, or even helping their families with financial burdens (which is why several athletes say they declare every year). Compare Anthony Bennett to Archie Goodwin, the 29th pick of the 1st round. His financial compensation would be $44,350 for the season, or $3,695.83 monthly.
If the student-athlete chooses after their sophomore season to return back to college for their junior season, they can receive an increase in their compensation from 5% up to 10% if they met certain requirements as a sophomore; requirements such as maintaining academic eligibility, no team violations, no NBA violations, and no NCAA violations. If those requirements are met they would be eligible for an additional 5% increase providing them with a total 10% compensation for their junior season.
The schools would have the obligation to ensure the NCAA and NBA both are kept up-to-date with all information surrounding any student-athlete in the program who falls under the drafted player status.
The summer months between school years the student-athlete would be eligible to participate in rookie camps with their respective NBA teams, participate in summer leagues, and utilize the NBA training facilities. However when the fall school term starts they would have to discontinue use of NBA training facilities associated with their team. During the college season NBA teams would not be allowed to have direct interaction with the players. Any interaction would have to be coordinated through the NBA and the University.
In additional to the financial compensation the NBA would provide drafted players with insurance to cover them in the event of a career ending injury that might be suffered while playing in college. The amount of insurance would be tied to the draft selection they received during their respective draft. Meaning a number one pick would receive a higher insurance policy than a thirtieth picked player.
Any player who shows significant improvement has the option to return for their senior season, and be eligible for the NBA draft again.
When a player completes their required college time and is ready to move to the NBA they will join their drafting team. If the drafting team chooses not to keep them, the player immediately becomes a free agent, and welcome to sign with any team they wish.