One and Done: The Effect of the Business Decision on NCAA Basketball

Last week’s NBA Draft was remarkable for the number and prominence of freshman that were selected.  The top 3 picks, and 5 of the first 7 players chosen were college freshman, and 10 freshman were selected in the first round – all NBA records.  The message for the top players entering college is clear: “one and done” is now the rule, not the exception.

The NBA’s rule requiring a player to be one year removed from high school before becoming eligible for the NBA Draft is a business decision, pure and simple.  The NBA is better served with more developed, mature players, who have proven themselves in collegiate basketball.  Moreover, the NBA’s marketing opportunities are vastly improved when their players have developed a fan following in college that accompanies them into the NBA.  The NBA is big business and requiring players to spend a year in college is a fundamentally sound business decision. 

The NCAA and colleges also benefit from this arrangement.  The top players must spend at least 1 year in college before heading to the NBA Draft.  When these teams are successful, they generate television revenue and exposure to help future recruits.  (See Greg Oden and Kevin Durant).  The problem for the NCAA and colleges is that the “one and done” trend makes a mockery of a student-athlete’s academics.  A “one and done” player only needs to remain eligible during basketball season.  Once the season ends, the player typically leaves school.  Is the player really benefiting from a semester and a half of college work?  Not likely.

Although any age requirements in basketball can be viewed in light of the business interests of the NBA and the NCAA, it seems that the NCAA should not support a rule that requires a player to attend college for such a short period of time.  The  effects of “one and done” may bring about change.  Brandon Jennings, a top high school player is considering playing overseas for a year, rather than attending college.  Jennings candidly states that he has minimal interest in attending college.  Although, playing overseas presents a myriad of challenges for players coming from high school, it only takes one player to succeed before others follow.

As “one and done” becomes the norm in basketball, it also creates a problem for players that want to stay in school.  Will a player who stays in school for 3 or 4 years diminish his value?  Scouts have minimal game tape to pick apart a freshman, and can always be optimistic about a 19 year-old’s potential.  But a player who stays in school exposes himself to a more in-depth critique that could cost him millions. 

Also see One and Done: O.J. Mayo and Amateurism in NCAA Basketball 



  1. Flutie Magic says:

    With the relatively new one year rule for High Schoolers. I think a lot more will be heading to Europe. Why waste a year in school when you can be playing for money overseas. I know the allure of playing “big-time” college hoops for some players may be very desireable, but if it was that important to them they would stay longer then the required one year.

    Also this is the first generation of new college bound basketball players who have not had the ability to go right to the Pros. All they have known is either you declare for the draft or go to school. Once they realize some kids are going overseas for a year and making six figure salaries, college basketball programs are going to start feeling the effects.

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  1. […] One and Done: The Effect of the Business Decision on NCAA Basketball […]

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