One and Done Leading to Less March Madness
One of my favorite times of year has always been the first full weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Upsets abound as 2 seeds knock off 15's (so sorry Dukies) and last second shots wreck your brackets. However over the last several years, overall quality of play has slipped drastically. Even as heavy underdog Dayton busted Big Orange fan's office brackets, the product on the court was unwatchable. Earlier in the day, Louisville's hard fought victory over St. Louis was played in the 50's just as the Syracuse/Dayton game was. Is this a product of the superior defense stifling offense? Or is the offense slipping for other reasons? In 2006, the NBA enacted the "one and done" rule requiring kids to be at least 19 years of age and one year removed from high school before entering draft. Let college programs be the weigh stations where these raw talents are marinated for a season as "student athletes." What has transpired has been a crop of one-hit wonders serving to what amounts to a glorified Post Graduate year where "student athlete" has become oxymoronic. Staying for more than one year becomes impossible for some as classwork has been optional and staying a second year is viewed as a player not yet ready for the NBA thus lowering their stock.
What has been the outcome? Certainly, there have been great successes for some of the kids. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Derrick Rose are all uber-wealthy NBA superstars. However for every success, there's a Michael Beasley, Tiny Gallon, and Josh Selby. More importantly, college basketball fans suffer as top programs like Kentucky, UNC, and Duke have to replenish their rosters annually as one and doners leave and team continuity and chemistry is ruined. What you get are games with talented rosters of underclassmen with undeveloped skills and games rife with turnovers, fouls, and poor shooting. Games that barely have total scores over 100 points. Games that tend to rock me slowly to sleep in my "man cave" recliner.
What's to be done? The NFL mandates that kids must be 3 years removed from high school before being eligible for the draft and MLB allows for high school draftees. However if a player doesn't sign with the team that drafted him, he has to wait until after his junior year or age 21 to re-enter the draft. College programs benefit from these systems as they are allowed to build programs with skilled upperclassmen in leadership roles that are developed physically with experience.
College basketball programs claim the system is a joke and a disaster. New NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, says that the NBA would like to raise the minimum age to 20. The Player's Union would like to revert back to pre-2006 rules where kids can be drafted out of high school. I don't care which way they go as long as they change current rules. Lack of skill level development is destroying the product and ruining "March Madness" as we remember it. Give me the days when dynasties were built on the backs of kids playing four years. “One and Done” has me close to being done with college basketball.