July 30, 2005: Under commissioner David Stern, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement which, among many other things, banned players from being drafted to the NBA directly out of high school.
The debate on whether or not players should be allowed to declare for the NBA Draft right out of high school was one of Stern's primary initiatives during his time as commissioner of the NBA.
In the decade prior to the rule change in 2005, there were many successful basketball players that made the transition straight from prep-to-pro.
Beginning with Kevin Garnett in 1995, the list includes other successful players such as: Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, and of course LeBron James.
This polarizing topic featured strong opinions from both sides.
Those in favor of allowing high school players declare for the NBA Draft argued that if 18-year-olds could skip college to fight in a war, 18-year-olds should also be allowed to turn professional.
Additionally, as long as teams showed a willingness to keep drafting high schoolers, people believed it was unfair to deny players the right to accept an offer providing them with a means of income.
Those in opposition believed that it was detrimental to the league to have so many players without college experience, and that it set a bad precedent for younger kids. It also led to NBA teams investing in players who were, by and large, unknown products.
To the dismay of many current and former NBA players, the league settled on the rule change that players must be at least one year removed from high school (19 years old) before they could declare for the draft.
Below is a video of Brandon Roy and Amar'e Stoudemire discussing their opinions about the one and done phenomena:
The current climate of the NCAA is definitely not perfect. There has been a massive wave of top prospects opting to go to college for one year in order to meet the NBA's requirements (also known as "one and done's") before going to the NBA.
At the same time, there have been scandals where schools have been caught throwing money and material items at the prospects in an attempt to recruit them.
In addition, the integrity of a college education has been compromised in some instances, exemplified by the scandal at the University of North Carolina.
The controversy was that players remained academically eligible by enrolling in courses designed to make it easy for student athletes to receive good grades, and even having tutors assigned to do the player's work for them.
It has been exactly ten years since the NBA decided to require players be one year removed from high school. Has this change been good for the overall quality of basketball? It depends on who you ask.