On going to Europe to pay for play

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, San Diego junior (in high school) Jeremy Tyler has left high school and intends to play the next two seasons in Europe while waiting to become eligible for the NBA draft.

Here was my take on the situation in our Thursday discussion:

QUESTION: Another fine (and fabulous day), gentlemen! Now that Jeremy Tyler has become the first major college prospect to drop out of high school and begin his pro career in Europe, do you expect this to become an increasingly frequent outcome for superlative high school talent, or will this defection from the traditional pro route remain uniquely uncommon?

It seems this is the natural and probable result of the NBA’s delayed-entry rule. While the possibility of more kids dropping out of high school to play abroad takes the situation to the precipice of a slippery slope, I can’t help but feel Stern/Brand/NBAPA essentially opened the door for a European internship program under the rule. After all, if the kids have incomparable talent and 0 interest in academics, why shouldn’t they be allowed to seek compensation for playing their game so exceptionally well? Should the NCAA drop the facade of the “student-athlete” for these kids and ease its eligibility requirements, or create a professional athlete/personal finance major to accommodate them? Should the NBA drop the rule all together? What’s your take on the situation?

ChronicHoosier, B-town!

CHRIS KORMAN: Chronic,

Put simply, I believe in freedom.

We let actors and actresses “go pro” at as young an age as they are able. Same for tennis players and figure skaters. In Canada, premier ice hockey players are drafted into juniors at age 15 and more often than not move hundreds of miles away from their families.

The current situation most of the upper echelon basketball players face is a sham. It would be better for everyone if the players who wanted to concentrate on playing basketball had an avenue to do that. It would also be better for everyone if the players who were interested in academics and basketball (maybe even in that order) didn’t have their avenues clogged by those who are essentially pros in waiting.

I have been a proponent of the NCAA dropping its facade for some time now; I have also been realistic about how unlikely that is. Once you’ve dealt with the organization for a while you see that it considers its image sacred. What you really have is a little shop that sells apple pies and plays soft jazz for customers, while in the nearby warehouse the young, often under-compensated workers are providing the real goods that make the business so successful (hint: they ain’t baking pies). But don’t talk about that. Talk about the apple pie. It’s delicious!

What bothers me about the NBA rule was that it came in collusion with the NCAA; if the NBA had simply decided it was too risky for players younger than 18 to join the league (for physical reasons) that would have been OK. But to make a rule that makes kids basically wait one year after their graduation, regardless of age, is a blatant attempt at funneling top players to the NCAA.

Andy Staples, the recruiting writer for Sports Illustrated, had his say Thursday night. I agree with it.

Your thoughts?

8 comments

  1. Has this kid not read about Brandon Jennings’ experience in Europe? And he had completed his high school education! Young Mr. Tyler will be in for a rude awakening.

  2. Sallad, you may be 100% correct. I would encourage you and others to review an article written by Andy Staples, SI. There’s more to this than your opinion or mine.

  3. It’s a stupid rule and the NBA is only hurting itself. I think and education is very important, and we should encourage our kids to have plans and a viable ‘fallback’ position. However, this rule only forestalls the inevitable, and as you say, no other professions block talented persons from earning a living at their chosen specialty.

    Creating bogus majors won’t solve anything – if they aren’t interested in school, they won’t go. And the NCAA is already hypocritical enough for my taste.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

    NBA, dump the rule and at least be real about it all. Shawn Kemp, Kobe and LeBron (among others) haven’t done so badly for themselves.

  4. Yeah Kemp is the man……a drug addict who fathered MANY children with multiple women and doesnt even acknowledge many of them, but yeah, who is to say having to go to college and actually get an education would have made any difference right? WRONG! (bad example for your position Hank)

    Dont get me wrong, I think kids should have the choice. But, once you decide to go to college you should have to do at least 2 years. I like the college football rule. 2 years and then you do what you want to do. 1 year is just a laugher to be honest. These kids arent doing anything but scraping by with “assistance” as they eye their future.

    I would like to see a new rule of at least 2 years AND you have to be in good academic standing before you can declare for the draft. No just getting by to get by. You are either making a 2-year committment or you make no committment.

  5. “no other professions block talented persons from earning a living at their chosen specialty”
    Dude, I had to get a masters degree before I could even apply for a license. Are you kidding me? Did your doctor go to med school? Lots of professions have restrictions. That being said, college should not be a prerequisite to play basketball. You can only do so much to protect someone from themselves.

  6. The current rule does not go far enough! College needs to stop being the minor leagues of the NBA and let the NBA deal with developing thier players.

    My enthusiam for the sport has waned in recent years mostly becuase of the self promotion and individualism in today’s game. College sports should be for kids that want to get an education and also pay sports. How is that for old fashioned??

    An athlete should commit obtaining a degree and the university should commit to supporting that athlete as long as it takes.

    The athlete would still have choices, go to college or not. Don’t blame the colleges becuase the NBA does not provide an alternative.

  7. It comes down to the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Player’s Union.

    You cannot be a doctor or engineer without a degree. The profession will not allow it. So is the case with the NBA. If you want to play ball, you have to play by their rules.

    If you want to go to Europe, circumvent the system and roll the dice, go for it. But, you still have to be one year removed from high school.

    I too believe the term “student athlete is BS, but not I don’t believe it is as relevant in this instance.

  8. “I too believe the term “student athlete is BS, but not I don’t believe it is as relevant in this instance.”

    In D1 basketball. Don’t use too broad a brush. I’ve got 2 kids studying engineering at D1 schools who are, indeed, student-athletes.

Comments are closed.