Via Matthew Yglesias, I see early predictions concerning the 2008 draft. Conveniently for my purposes, all four of the top prospects are freshmen in college. So these are exactly the guys the new set of rules cover–as of 2006, they’re forced to wait a year after their high school class graduates before entering the draft. So they go to college, playing for a year before going to the NBA. This is a brilliant arrangement for the NBA–they don’t have to pay these guys while they get a year to develop their skills. It doesn’t do a damn bit of good for anyone else though.
All four of these guys were top prospects coming out of high school–each year it’s going to be that way. They don’t need the year of college to make themselves look good to NBA teams. Some of them may have a genuine interest in playing college ball, or going to college–but I’m concerned with the ones who would just as happily have gone straight to the NBA.
First off, the only have one year of college. I’m pretty high on the value of a college education, what with being a teacher and all. Still, I wouldn’t advise someone to show up, come to my classes for a year, then depart with no plans to come back. What’s the value of that? Worse, since they’re only planning to play for a year, they don’t even have an incentive to do that well in school–they don’t have to maintain eligibility. And they’re not going to be harmed by going straight to the NBA–these are the guys who have million dollar a year contracts waiting for them. With even a modicum of sense they could save the money to come back to college if they need to (and if you think the first year of college teaches good judgment, I have a bridge for sale). Nor do the colleges benefit. Individual colleges get to gamble that they can pull a Syracuse, but overall it just leads to volatility as programs have a cycle of players entering before leaving in a year.
Overall, this rule is a complete farce.