Imagine watching an ESPN broadcast of a D-League game played in front of a packed arena and featuring two or three of the top 18-year-old basketball players in the country.
As much of a stretch as that seems right now, a new NCAA eligibility requirement set to take effect in 2015 might just keep some of America’s best amateur talent from ever playing NCAA hoops.
According to Dana O’Neil of ESPN.com, beginning in 2015, athletes will have to complete 16 “core” courses, 10 of which must be completed before the respective athlete’s senior season. In other words, players will have to take real classes (math, English, etc.) instead of propping up their GPAs with three periods of gym per day. (Andy Katzenmoyer’s hoop dreams are dying)
Players must have a 2.3 GPA in those 16 courses and anything below that, but above a 2.0, will cause them to become an academic redshirt, which means they could practice but not play for the school.
Obviously, some of today’s best college players would never have been eligible under these standards. In fact, for many that are already in high school, these restrictions would make it impossible to play college ball. That’s why the NCAA is waiting for the next freshman class to graduate high school before implementing these restrictions.
So what does this mean for college hoops?
First off, nothing will stop college basketball from being popular. Even before the NBA initiated its one-and-done rule requiring American players to be at least one year removed from their senior year of high school, NCAA basketball was as popular as ever. It didn’t bother fans that Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett went straight to the pros because they generally root for the school or for the famous coaches who, after all, are really the stars of the game.
But it does mean a handful recruits will be deemed ineligible every season after 2015 and they’ll be given the choice of playing in Europe or going to the D-League.
And as unglamorous as the D-League is now, the new ruling would bring media attention to Reno, Erie and Tulsa depending on which team landed the best teenager. Let’s face it, Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler didn’t exactly thrive playing overseas and NBA teams would rather see these stars playing in the States anyway.
Take the Oklahoma City Thunder for instance. If they were interested in drafting a player, the front office would benefit from seeing him in their system for an entire year, which is what would be the case if he was playing for the Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder’s D-League affiliate.
And since NBA teams are investing millions in these new rookies, it would be nice to see how they handle themselves with a professional team. If a player gets caught doing something wrong, he won’t have an athletic director and a warm, loving community to whitewash his transgression. He’ll actually have to answer for himself, which is going to give teams an idea of who can be held accountable and who can’t.
The new restrictions are far off in the distance, but reality is rapidly approaching college sports. We can’t simply keep pushing the myth that everyone is a student athlete.
NBA PM: New Rules Changing College Eligibility? | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors
current class schedule choices for star college basketball players:
Point Shaving 101
How do you think Shaq completed three years at LSU?
Shaq has a doctorate degree now showing that anything is possible. Let that serve as motivation to all of us on SR!!
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