It looks like the NBA players union will have to change its stance if the league is ever going to abolish the rule allowing prospects to enter the draft after just a single season in college basketball.
Commissioner David Stern reiterated Friday in a radio interview on the Dan Patrick Show that he'd prefer if players had to be at least two years removed from high school before they can declare for the NBA draft. Then he essentially placed the onus on the player's union to stop blocking that rule change from happening.
"Everyone I hear from — NBA players, actually; college coaches; NBA teams — everyone says it's a pretty good idea, except the [player's association], whose consent is necessary to change it," Stern said. "So, what I tell people to do is, 'Don't call me, call their union.'"
There's no denying that a two-year minimum would be positive both for pro and college basketball.
The NBA would be drafting pre-marketed prospects who are not only more ready for pro basketball but also more well known to fans who'd have the chance to watch them for two full seasons in college. And college basketball obviously benefits from having its elite talents remain in school for two seasons instead of one, improving its product and making the educational aspect less of a sham.
Nonetheless, it's easy to understand why the player's union would balk because such a rule isn't necessarily fair to the best 18- and 19-year-old draft hopefuls. Is it really fair to a Lebron James, a Kobe Bryant or a Shabazz Muhammad to take two potential years of salary away from them when an NBA team would draft them in the lottery out of high school?
The last time the NBA attempted to have this rule changed during negotiations with the player's association last year, the union stood its ground and league officials backed off to focus on issues they thought were more significant at the time. It seems unlikely the issue will be revisited again until the current collective bargaining agreement expires.
The one piece of good news from Stern's interview from a college basketball standpoint is that he seems adamant about not allowing kids to enter the draft out of high school again.
"We have the current rule, which is one year from high school ... because it's good for our business," Stern said. "We didn't do it to help or hurt the colleges. Any college could decide not to take a player who was likely to leave after a year, but indeed it would probably cost the college president his job."
Yup, Stern's spot-on there. The college president who turns down Anthony Davis or Austin Rivers out of principle is unlikely to be a popular figure on campus.
(Thanks, Eye on College Basketball)
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