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- The NBA has long sought to find a way to allow players to skip college and funnel straight into the pros.
- With college basketball under fire for paying high school recruits in exchange for commitments to specific programs, the NBA will offer a path straight for elite high school prospects to skip college and enter the pros right away.
- Starting in the 2019-2020 season, the NBA G League will offer $125,000 contracts to select elite players who are at least 18 years of age.
The one-and-done era of college basketball may finally be nearing its end.
The NBA announced Thursday that the G League would extend six-figure contract offers to top high school recruits, providing them with an option to join the pros straight out of high school for the first time since the NBA instituted the one-and-done rule in 2005.
According to the one-and-done rule, players are not eligible for the NBA Draft until they are 19 years old, but starting in the 2019-2020 season, the NBA G League will offer $125,000 “Select Contracts” to elite players who are at least 18 years of age by September 15 before the given season.
“Select Contracts are an answer to the basketball community’s call for additional development options for elite players before they are eligible for the NBA,” said NBA G League President Malcolm Turner. “The supporting infrastructure surrounding these newly-created Select Contracts is designed to provide a rich offering of basketball and life skills developmental tools for top young players to grow along their professional paths from high school to the pros.”
These contracts with the G League provide top recruits with a chance to earn money while getting acquainted with the NBA and higher-level competition. Joining the G League out of high school will also enable prospects to sign endorsement deals and hire agents before declaring for the NBA Draft, both of which are not allowed under NCAA regulations.
The NCAA’s notion of amateurism has long prevented student-athletes from capitalizing on their talents for financial gain, so the NBA’s new policy could provide a legitimate alternative to playing in college for one year.
For successful college basketball coaches who have embraced the one-and-done rule to build star-studded, freshman-filled rosters year after year, like Kentucky’s John Calipari and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Select Contracts could derail their recruiting efforts.
Additionally, the G League unveiled their new plan the same day testimony ended in a New York trial surrounding corruption in college basketball recruiting. Last year, an FBI investigation revealed the dark underbelly of college basketball, and this trial has illuminated specific coaches, players, and programs that may have engaged in bribery and fraud – both federal crimes – to secure top recruits.