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David Stern says D-League better educates players than NCAA

Oct 10, 2013, 1:33 PM EDT

Someone must be one year removed from high school to play in the NBA, but he must be just 18 to play in the D-League.

Right now, that doesn’t mean much. Few players go to the D-League because they’re not old enough for the NBA. They  go to college.

But as the D-League expands, that could change, and David Stern is making a pitch for his minor league. Stern, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“I’m very proud of the development league. It’s working. That march is continuing. The drumbeats I hear about colleges not liking what they refer to one-and-done . We now have a rule where the development league will accept players that are 18 and will do a better job of educating them than the college programs they are in.”

I don’t know whether the D-League or NCAA does a better job educating 18-year-olds. As I said before, not enough elite players have chosen the the D-League over college to make any definitive judgments.

But I do know neither the NCAA nor D-League does an adequate job of paying 18-year-olds. D-League salaries are too low, and college salaries are banned.

NBA owners have conspired with veteran NBA players in negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement that bans high school players from going pro, leaving more NBA jobs open to veteran players. And NCAA teams have conspired with each other not to pay their players, leaving more money for administrators and coaches to divvy among themselves.

Until elite 18-year-olds are paid full market value, how well they’re educated is a secondary concern.

  1. sdelmonte - Oct 10, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Isn’t it about time that we got the colleges out of being de facto minor leagues? I say, let all the One-and-Done types come to a revamped D-League, get reasonable salaries, and then move on up. And let the colleges go back to having student athletes.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      Makes perfect sense. I’d rather see scholarships go to kids who give a crap about their education, let the pros-to-be go ahead and jump into their chosen profession. Just don’t allow 18s to play anywhere BUT the D-League for that first year.

      • honeyboywilson - Oct 11, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        Are you willing to extend that rule to all 18-year-olds? For example, no professional acting? No professional musicians? Gifted programmers? Etc?

  2. openseason51 - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Bad comment from Stern that the D League can better educate the athlete. Should not be one and done for college. 3 years with an accounting or business degree. The NBA player is broke within 3 years after they are done playing. All those millions of $ wasted. Sickening.

    • bougin89 - Oct 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      It is sickening seeing athletes blow through money and go broke, I agree. I think what Stern is saying is if a player is going to College but not really going for a degree(one and done) the D league better prepares them for playing in the NBA. That is the way I interrupted it at least. I don’t think any one and done type of players are getting a whole lot of “college education”. They live like pro’s on their campuses anyway.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      Unnecessary and actually unfair.

      And they are not obligated to be smart with their money. They should be free to earn their millions and blow it on anything they choose. It offends you when they’re not, but that’s none of your business, and it offends me when someone feels like they have to Save Athlete Money!! (like Save the Whales! or Save the Earth!) via unnecessary regulations only because they were never given millions to blow themselves.

      In any case, 3 year athletes can end up broke just the same. Celebrities (young and adult) end up in financial ruin all the time, yet we see not the chorus of the offended howling for them to go to get a degree. Some very serious minded & highly educated financial men make worse decisions and lose everything and don’t just end up broke, but in prison, or splattered on a sidewalk.

      A degree is not going to change the complications and compulsions regarding wealth – it doesn’t even make you more likely to handle your money better.

      • bougin89 - Oct 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        NFL players are required to be out of high school for 3 years. They go broke just like NBA players do. Making NBA players go to college for 3 years wouldn’t change much of anything as far as the players financial decisions are concerned.

  3. johngalt1783 - Oct 10, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Amir Johnson played in the D-League when he was 18. Last player drafted directly out of high school. He had just become 18 when drafted in 2005. Played in the D-League the following season

  4. qedfyi - Oct 10, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Major league baseball players never required a college degree, nor do pro-golf, tennis, boxing, bowling, etc. players have to attend college. The college tradition goes back before television, internet and jet travel made local college and city rivalries meaningless. Now James, Rose and Durant are national icons regardless of what team they play for. The CBA has luxury taxes, but the NCAA always had a hard salary cap of zero and a max contract of four years. The NCAA needs figure their priorities of education versus greed.

  5. Maurice Barksdale - Oct 10, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    You shouldn’t have to be 18 to play in the D-League either. You should be able to play when you’re ready, whether you’re 18 or not. The NBA should identify the elite young players sooner, and fast track their basketball education to prepare them for the league. One year of college is a waste of time.

    Also, they stunt the growth of up and coming younger players by holding those jobs for veterans who no longer have the talent to be in the league.

    • longtallsam - Oct 10, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      Some 18 yr olds are physically ready for the NBA, but very, very few are mentally and emotionally ready.. Whether it is in college or the DL, that one year does make a lot of difference. The best solution would be something similar to baseball’s…when you finish high school, make a decision…go pro then or commit to at least three years of college.

      • Maurice Barksdale - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:37 PM

        I didn’t say the NBA, the post was referring to the D-League. And just like MLB sends their 18 year old prospects to the minor leagues to develop, the NBA could do the same thing with the D-League. Groom them in the D-League until they’re ready for the big time.

        And there are some players who do play in college and still aren’t ready mentally or emotionally when they leave. It all depends on the individual. 18 year olds can fight and die in the military, yet 18 year olds aren’t ready for the NBA?

  6. justanobserver - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Oh, yeah, Mr Stern!!!!!! Well put your money, and that of others like you, where your mouths are and get after it. Then, while we’re watching and rooting for your success, our colleges and universities will be able to get back to doing what they were intended to do — educate people for productive lifetimes.

    We’ll still be able to field viable sports teams at the interscholastic level, but in a considerably healthier environment for everyone concerned.

  7. gmsingh123 - Oct 13, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    How can you tell when David Stern is lying?

    His secretary is typing up a press release.

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