As the Cavaliers continue their descent into Dante’s ninth circle of hell, I thought it was best to detach myself from the frosty pain of getting annihilated by twenty points every game and talk about something different.
The Players Union wants the age restriction rule to be changed from 19 back to where it was prior to 2005: 18.
Though I have no problem with players wanting to come out of high school and make a living, I do believe there should be a massive salary limit to that player’s first year. Also, there should be incentives placed in NBA Contracts that would reward a player who actually does finish school.
This is if, truly, the NBA cares about the benefits of a good education.
Here are my two ideas.
1) The 18yr. old who comes out of high school directly to the NBA should be rewarded the equivalent salary of a four year scholarship at a public university. For example, if Kobe Bryant 2.0 goes to the NBA, he would be given a one-year contract at around 100,000 dollars, depending on the statistics the league goes by. Not a bad salary for what could be considered an ‘entry-level’ position. After that one year, the team would be free to re-negotiate a deal going by the standard rookie contract that exists today. That would be one hell of a raise.
Benefits: The player would be given a chance to manage their money better. Using only myself as an example, I knew nothing about money management when I was eighteen. You may not be able to buy your mother a new home yet, but you might be able to get everything in order so that, when you do get that ‘raise’, you’ll be much smarter than if you were simply handed a gigantic 3 million dollar contract.
2) This one to me seems the most important. A player’s salary should get a bump if they have a college degree. This should be the case in all sports. How much of a bump? Well, it would have to be somewhat substantial. Perhaps 250k to 500k a year. So, for example, since Tyler Hansborough finished his degree at North Carolina, he would have been given the standard rookie contract he is on now, plus that ‘graduate incentive’.
Of course, this deal would stand as long as the player is playing in the NBA. Various athletes have gone back to finish their degree while playing professionally. This would give players even more incentive to continue building their life AFTER basketball, because, let’s face it, we know too many stories of athletes who did not properly save their earnings, and, since they never finished their degree, don’t have a bright future ahead of them.
By implementing these two changes, I think the NBA would be showing the public that they care about education for their players. It would also blaze a trail, and perhaps the MLB could do this as well.
After all, one of the reasons why the ’18yr old. rule’ was changed was so athletes would get a taste of the collegiate experience. What better way to support that then to reward them with a bigger contract for obtaining a degree?