Should All Athletes be Able to go Straight to the Pros out of High School?

William Petitt, Staff Writer

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Kobe Bryant. Lebron James. Tracy McGrady. All of these dominant basketball players have one big thing in common: they didn’t go to college. Individually, their achievements are monumental: Kobe won five rings, and scored 81 points in one game. Lebron James has three rings himself, and is and has been considered literally the “King” of the NBA for years. Tracy McGrady is one of the highest-paid NBA players of all time, with Shaq and Kevin Garnett(who also didn’t go to college). If the purpose of college is to increase skill level, is it needed for the extreme few who are ready for the professional level out of high school?

For those who do not know, among the three major American sports, Football, Basketball, and Baseball, you are required to go to college for two. In Football, you are required to stay at least three years before progressing to the NFL, and Basketball at least one year before advancing to the NBA. However, it has not always been this way in basketball. Starting in 2005, the NBA’s new collective bargaining deal mandated that a player must be at least nineteen years old and one year removed from high school to be eligible for the draft and to play in the NBA. The nicknamed “one-and-done” rule(referencing the number of years an elite player spends in college before going to the NBA) is now more controversial than ever. However, football has remained constant for a long time in requiring players to attend three years of college.

There are several, highly debatable pros and cons for the issue. Among the pros the biggest is economic freedom, and the biggest con is maturity. Would the extremely talented eighteen year olds coming out of high school be able to handle the immense salaries and pressure of playing professionally?

When most people argue against coming straight out of high school to the professional level, they cite the maturity of the players as an issue. However, I think that a professional team would not draft a player who might make some bad decisions because of immaturity because it would look bad on their franchise. Another issue that people might point out is if the player physically ready for the professional level. I think a team would only draft a player ready to go pro, and if they are not, they will tell them to go to college to improve.

I think players should be able to progress straight out of high school to the professional level. If you are good enough, what is the point of going to college for one or three years? Even while they are in college, many great high school players only improve marginally because of restrictions of how many hours they can spend in the gym. I think improvement would be much more efficient if they were drafted out of high school and practiced with a professional team, where everyone else plays on their level and they are free to practice as much as they want. Also, they would be making millions of dollars while doing it, while college athletes receive no salaries. I think players who play at an elite enough level should be free to go straight to the professional level, without restrictions.

In conclusion, I think that the individual franchises know what is good for them better than the league does, and should be able to pick from an array of players coming out of high school and college, not just the latter.

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Should All Athletes be Able to go Straight to the Pros out of High School?