N C A A And N B A: Interlocked

By: Jim Brown

Several decades ago, the drafting of players by the National Basketball Association was afforded only to those who have already passed and graduated from their collegiate classes. This arrangement was found to be a mutually favorable affiliation between the NBA and universities or colleges. This way, the universities and colleges mainly held only onto players who otherwise went toward the professional basketball league. By the same token, the NBA did not need to fund minor leagues.

However, basketball games in the collegiate levels developed commercialization overtime. This progress made it even more difficult for student athletes to take on their responsibilities as regular students. Particularly, statistics reflected an overwhelming growth in the number of under-educated and poor, yet extremely talented youth basketball players. This finding created an exploitative image for the NCAA and NBA-adopted system.

In an effort to resolve this setback, the American Basketball Association started employing players who have not graduated yet from their college classes. Because of this, a legal conflict ensued up to the Supreme Court of the United States regarding players who were drafted to the NBA. In the legal battle, players insisted their need for the job in professional basketball to support their family. In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NBA did not hold an "antitrust exemption" that Major League Baseball did. Thereafter, collegiate players belonging to the economically deprived were permitted early entry unto NBA Drafts. The requirement on hardship was then abolished five years later.

The past three decades marked a noteworthy change in collegiate games. Many American international basketball players skipped college routinely. This group included Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James and Tracy McGrady; and Carmelo Anthony who played one year in college basketball. Notably, the annual NBA draft had only selected a few college graduates among its sixty players selected.

There are much fewer high school basketball aspirants that directly progress unto the professional basketball league without at least a year of involvement in college basketball starting in the year 2006. This system cites some maturity concerns following disputes over young players. To be eligible, labor agreements between league owners and basketball players now stipulate for players to turn 19 years old within the draft's calendar year. Players from the U.S. are required to be a year, at least, when removed from graduation in high school.

Undisputedly, the popularity of college basketball in all states in the U.S. is largely attributed to the huge number of graduates from universities that hold major basketball conferences. College basketball is also kept alive by the NCAA's advertising of their "March Madness," which officially is NCAA Men's Basketball Championship for Division I. Though certain commentators argue that the high turnover of players increases the need for good coaches, numerous teams achieved unprecedented success by putting ample emphasis on "personality" in their recruiting programs. The NCAA organizers have also disclosed their goal to create cohesive groups that play together for four years, which develops higher sophistication, that other teams with less stability are deemed to achieve.

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