Basketball Needs to Be Fixed Professional and college basketball have become very popular in the hearts and minds of many Americans. Millions of dollars a year are spent on apparel, tickets, and television all generated by people's love for basketball. But in the last couple of years, both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and college basketball have lost a substantial amount of their competition and have caught much for it. At the heart of this problem is a single cause, greed.
The game of basketball has become all about money instead of the game and its fans. This problem needs to be addressed, and the best place to start is with the college players, or more specifically, the NBA draft. The rules and guidelines that pertain to the draft are greatly at fault for the down slide of both college and NBA basketball and they need to be changed before the game down slides into nothing. The changes that need to be made are simple, underclassmen should not be eligible for the NBA draft; or in other words, if you have years of eligibility left, you should not be eligible to be drafted by an NBA team. What problems would this solve? The answer is most problems in basketball today. First, college basketball has paid greatly by losing its most talented players to the NBA as many as three years early.
This has resulted in not only an overall lessening of the game, but in certain circumstances caused the downfall of once great basketball programs. This is how it happens, colleges recruit players based on what their needs are or what they will need shortly in the future. So let us say that one school has a great core of sophomore and junior players for an upcoming season. The coaches do not have the need or the room for many new top notch players. So all of the top recruits find other schools to go to. Then, let us say that the great core of players leaves for the NBA, leaving the team with mediocre players and a horrible season to look forward to.
By the next recruiting period comes around, the school's reputation has been hurt, and so has their chances of landing the top recruits. This continues until the school's once proud basketball tradition is a thing of the past. This situation is not only hypothetical, schools like UNLV, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Houston have all gone through this process and now find themselves at the bottom of the barrel. It is not only the universities that early entry to the NBA hurts, the league in general takes a huge blow. College basketball markets their teams after their best players, when those players decide to go pro early, the promotion of college basketball is hurt; along with the overall talent level of the league is lowered drastically.
Games become less interesting because the players are not as talented. This in turn hurts the television networks because people do not like watching games in which they do not know who the players are. And then, that in turn hurts the league and the schools again because the networks will not pay as much to televise the games as they once did. The schools and the league are not the only ones hurt, by leaving school early hoping to make the big bucks the players hurt themselves. In the world that we live in today, if you do not have a college degree, opportunities are limited. Look at the statistics, 60 players are drafted each year, and there are only 360 roster spots in the entire NBA.
The chances that each player drafted will make the team is almost an impossibility. Some people go back to school and try to finish their degrees, but most do not because once you give up your eligibility, you cannot get it back, with means most of them cannot afford to go back to school. This leaves a lot of people out of work and with no degree. By keeping the college players in school, most will achieve their degree by the time that they are ready for the NBA.
The beneficiary of the underclassmen being allow to leave early would bethe NBA right? It seems that way, but that is not really the case. The problem with drafting underclassmen is that they are not totally matured yet, they have not yet received all of the skills that they would need to make the immediate impact that their teams expect them to make. These skills include leadership, responsibility, and maturity; these are the thing that college is supposed to teach them, but by leaving early they are not given all of the things that they need to be a success. Many of the new players in the league develop attitudes of cockiness or overconfidence because of their draft position or because of the millions of dollars that they are being paid. Suspensions and fines for misconduct are a tan all-time high in the NBA now and the biggest reason for it is the young players who have not been taught the respect and conduct that they need. This gives the NBA a bad name and is starting to upset a lot of the veteran players who have made the NBA what it is today.
Another thing that the draft does is that it makes building or rebuilding a team a total gambling game. Wagering millions of dollars on a player in their early twenties that teams have no idea if they will be any good, many teams are often wrong and are stuck with a multimillion dollar investment that went sour. This makes teams take years to develop their young players, and in the meantime their record and fan attendance and support go down the tubes. This also hurts the TV networks because no one wants to see mediocre professional teams play, and then that turns around and hurts the teams and the league because the networks pay less for television rights. Money, is obviously the reason why underclassmen leave for the NBA early. If you were twenty-two years old, and someone would pay you 90 million dollars to play a game that you love, would you drop out of college? The problem with this is the inflation of players salaries.
When players are drafted young, they demand to be paid what they want; teams pay them millions right out of college. This makes the veteran players jealous, and they ask for more money. Then when the next year comes around, the pattern repeats itself, and it's another downward spiral. That is how players's salaries have rose to absurd limits.
Noone noticed the problem while it was happening, but now that it is a problem there is no real way to fix it. In 1996, a rookie salary cap was put into effect by the NBA to put a limit on beginning salaries, so some measures are being taken. This is a start, but it is not the answer to the problem. If underclassmen were not allowed to come out early, high rookie salaries would not have to be as high, and the players would probably be more accepting of less money than most rookies are getting now, and this would help solve the all-around money problem in the NBA. Both the NBA and college basketball seem to be in a rut. And as stated before, they reason is the underclassmen leaving school early to make money in the NBA.
So what's the solution? Easy, do not let the college players enter the NBA draft early. It would benefit everyone in the future. Of course there would be a transitional period, but the losses would be short and the effects of the change would be evident very quickly. Let the game be played the way it was meant to be played, for the competition and not for the money..