Why the “One and Done” Rule Needs to Go

In 2005, then NBA commissioner David Stern passed what would be at the time called Article X, something now known as the highly debated “One and Done” rule.  Originally intended as a way to prevent high school basketball players from going straight the NBA, which it has done, many unforeseen effects of the rule have harmed the college game.  It is for these reasons which I will go on to state that I believe the NBA’s One and Done rule should be modified for the benefit of both the NCAA and the NBA.

So what’s written in this controversial rule anyway?  Basically, the rule states that to be eligible to enter the NBA Draft, a prospect must be at least 19 years old and have graduated from high school at least one year prior to the draft.  This means most top players play one year of college before declaring for the draft, or alternatively, some players choose to play overseas for a year before going to the draft, such as Brandon Jennings and currently Emmanuel Mudiay.

The first, and possibly biggest problem that results from players spending only one year in college is the creation of super teams.  Every year all the best talent goes to mainly Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke.  While some other schools steal some top talent as well, every year the same teams top the pre-season polls and can just rotate their star freshman every year once some go to the NBA.  Kentucky’s coach John Calipari spent $200,000 on plane trips recruiting in just a few months in 2013, planning to recreate a team of freshman phenoms.  And guess what?  He got his team.

Another issue with the One and Done rule was that it leads to a lower level of competition overall in college basketball.  If every top 10 draft pick left after one year of college, and most of them do, that means every year in college basketball there are only 1/4 of the best players there would be in the game if everyone played for years.  This means there are less good players in the game.  If these players stayed, it would increase the amount of schools with standout players, which would make the college basketball season even more exciting than it already is.  If the NCAA could make an already great and unpredictable game even more so, it would only help the marketability of the game.

An argument I think many people overlook regarding this rule is this: even casual NFL and NBA fans know the top guys.  Everybody knows about Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.  However, when every top player leaves the NCAA every year, people have to relearn the names of the stars, and some people just don’t like that, and in turn, are drawn away from the game.  For instance, last year the spotlight was on five freshmen: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, and Tyler Ennis.  All are now in the NBA, and everyone has to learn the stories of all the new freshman. Even I don’t know some of the guys I’ll be writing about in a few months.

Perhaps the last of the big arguments for modification of Article X is that while there aren’t as many people who get in trouble with the law as, say, the NFL, players need time to mature as people before being signed for millions of dollars in their rookie deals alone.  This time will be well spent with skilled college coaches teaching prospects and developing their games so there isn’t as much time wasting teaching fundamentals and developing young talent when players can immediately make an impact if they truly enter the NBA prepared.

The reason why I believe the change is coming soon is that both NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NCAA president Mark Emmert agree that the rule needs to be changed.  Adam Silver believes players need to be two years removed from high school and 20 years old while Emmert believed in taking it one step further, making minimum age 21 and requiring players to be three years removed from high school.  Either way, the change is for the better.

Mark Cuban believes that if no change is made, going straight into the D-League would be a better option to the NCAA.  I see this as similar to the minor league baseball system and agree that a change needs to be made.  If this can be done correctly, I would be interested to see how this ends up.  However, I don’t see this happening in the future.

The general idea here is that the NFL requires its players to be out of high school for three years before going to the NFL, and the MLB either has players go to the minors or be in college for three years.  If the NFL and MLB both use well-established systems, why shouldn’t the NBA?

The One and Done rule is outdated and needs to be changed to benefit both the NCAA and the NBA.  I believe this will happen soon.

I hope you guys like these basketball posts during the offseason.  There’s more to come!  Thanks for reading!



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