How Will College Basketball Adapt To A Potential NBA Farm System?

The latest scandal in college basketball involving illegal payments to star players has caused many people in the basketball world to reconsider the current system that is in place. Currently, the NBA’s rule of one-and-done requires star athletes in high school to wait one year before they are eligible to be selected in the draft. Of course, the vast majority of these top prospects play one year in college before they leave school and declare for the upcoming draft. However, commissioner Adam Silver is considering to remove the one-and-done rule and create a farm system that offers an alternative route that bypasses college basketball. Some basketball analysts have speculated that the G League could provide an opportunity for young players to get paid without being forced to play overseas or one year at college. Of course, this can significantly change the college basketball world and force administrators to consider making radical changes. Here are just a few of the ways that college basketball must adapt to a potential farm system. 

#1 Money – To Pay or Not to Pay? The creation of a professional basketball farm system would have major ramifications on the current college basketball model and will almost certainly cause long overdue changes. Losing the top players each year to a professional farm system would force colleges to consider legally paying players or at least allowing them to receive endorsement deals. To improve the chances of a player remaining in college, they can offer increasing payments for each year that they stay in school. The payment of players can also eliminate the rule that forces players to be ineligible to return to school if they declare for the draft but eventually do not get selected. Of course, college teams paying players isn’t without a few problems, as only twenty schools in the nation make a profit from the athletic programs. Deciding if every athlete receives the same payment and how this will affect other sports will require a lot of thought and a radical change to the current format.

#2 Relationship Between Players & Agents Another possible change is the relationship between star players and agents. Currently, a college basketball player cannot hire an agent, or they will be disqualified from participating in college basketball. However, baseball and hockey players are allowed to hire agents in high school and not risk ineligibility because a professional team can potentially draft them out of high school. The NCAA is seriously considering this rule change to enable star basketball players in high school to hire an agent without losing eligibility. The installation of an NBA farm system can accelerate this rule change, as the college basketball world hopes to retain star players and not limit the potential amount of players that have a desire to play college basketball.

#3 Increase Interaction with AAU Basketball The NCAA is also considering to become more involved in AAU basketball, which is a youth league that plays a major role in recruiting and the development of young players. A partnership between colleges and the NBA can help young players develop and guide them in making decisions that are in the best interests of the player. Of course, the current scandal that is being investigated by the FBI involves the illegal payments to many top recruits, and it is essential that the current system experiences radical changes that do not involve young players getting paid thousands of dollars under the table.

The issue of paying players that are graduating from high school will not go away anytime soon, and college basketball will be forced to make radical changes to remain competitive against a professional farm system. While the NCAA may never resort to paying college basketball players, allowing these athletes to have agents and increase interaction with AAU basketball are all positive changes that are long overdue.