Athletes Leaving College Early
The story of Korleone Young is a saddening one. Korleone was one of the top high school basketball players in the nation while he was in high school. At all the summer basketball camps, he played above his high school peers. During his senior season he dominated all his team’s competition. He had every major Division I basketball program wanting to give him a full scholarship. All of the national powerhouses like Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, and many more all recruited Korleone heavily. He also had another bug in his ear. The recent trend of high school stars like Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant skipping college to go to the pros appealed to him. He figured since he was a star he could skip college too. This was a big mistake. While his counterparts, Garnett and Bryant were drafted in the first round, Korleone fell to the second round. Once he got into camp he proved he was not ready for the physical style of play. After a couple seasons spent on injured reserve he is now out of the league.
It is becoming more and more a trend for high school and underclassmen basketball players to forgo their college eligibility to enter the NBA draft. Most professional sports have restrictions to limit mentally and physically immature players from throwing away their college education to be unsuccessful in the professional ranks. In the National Football League, NCAA football players are not allowed to declare for the pro draft unless they have been in the school’s program for at least three years. In professional baseball and hockey, although they do draft players straight from high school, they have a minor league system set up. These minor leagues allow players the time to develop and still play against an excellent level of competition. This helps their growth process so that when they get into the real big leagues, they are somewhat ready to play and be a factor.
This influx of young players is not only hurting the player, but it is hurting the league and college sports. The NBA is now becoming filled with talented but immature players. College sports is losing it’s top athletes, sometimes after one year of college play. The players are also not graduating. This hurts because when a basketball player does not make it in the NBA, he has no degree to fall back on.
The National Basketball Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association really need to examine this issue. This act is starting to devastate young, talented players lives. For every Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant, there is a Korleone Young. One of these two big organizations needs to step up and make some changes. Last year, six high school players declared for the NBA draft. Some rules and guidelines need to be set.
The first step that could be taken is for the NCAA to start giving college athletes a monthly stripend. If the NCAA gave athletes an allowance like one to two hundred dollars a month, more athletes would stay. At least give the athletes some money to buy groceries. Not all of players come from wealthy families, and sometimes the financial burden becomes too much. The NCAA generates millions and millions of dollars each year on sponsorship and television rights. Athletic shoe and apparel companies and major businesses pay huge amounts of money to advertise using college athletics. Television networks pay millions for the rights to host college athletic events. After all this money rolls in, can’t the average college athlete get grocery money? Usually the athlete cannot work. Trying to balance sports and school is hard enough. So, unless your parents have money it is basically impossible for you to be an athlete and have spending money.
This is one solution to the problem. This solution is a common one proposed by many people. However, this solution has opponents. Some people say that there is no way that the NCAA, even with all the revenue generated, can afford to pay all college athletes. As hard as it is to accept we shall have to. But, there is also another organization that has more control over this matter than the