Ben Simmons: NBA’s one-and-done rule is pointless

ben simmons sixers
Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons does not like the NBA’s one-and-done rule. In a new documentary titled “One and Done” about his rise from basketball prodigy to NBA draftee, Simmons called the rule “pointless”, among other things.

From ESPN:

“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” Simmons said on “One and Done,” a film that will air on Showtime on Friday night. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”

Simmons likely could have jumped to the NBA after his first final season in high school. Thanks to the NBA’s one-and-done rule — formally defined as an age requirement — Simmons had to play one season at LSU before going No. 1 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Of course, it’s hard to find people on either side of this issue in favor of how the league currently has it setup. The system currently remains largely because the NBA and NCAA work in symbiosis to ensure a more stable financial outcome for both parties.

The NCAA gets to pay players a sum unequal to their monetary value in the form of scholarships when it comes to money sports in college. And, as Simmons points out, that education can be incomplete for the top performing athletes. It’s an odd farce that Simmons acknowledged directly.

From the New York Times:

After Simmons starts missing classes, his coach, Johnny Jones, gets after him, warning him that there will be consequences if he does not show up. “I’m going to the N.B.A. next season,” Simmons says when he misses another class. Why pretend “if it’s not going to help me”?

For the NBA, forcing players to wait another year allows teams to better assess prospects from a return on investment position. The hope here is that teams will do a better job matching future performance with draft order, which can have a huge monetary effect on teams early on.

This issue is certainly nothing new, but the roar from the crowd has gained in decibel thanks to both football and basketball players voicing their concerns in recent years. There are several opinions on how best to tackle the issue. A D-League that pays a reasonable living wage for an athlete is one. Some have also suggested a college system more akin to baseball, where players can jump straight from high school to the pros but must remain in college for three years if they decide to commit.

A fix definitely needs to be had, and sooner than later. The league is too inundated with cash for a solution not to be found. Just take the past calendar year, when the NBA’s salary cap jumped a whopping $24 million thanks to BRI — basketball related income. There’s so much money in the league that the NBA and the Player’s Union are closer than ever on a new CBA simply because it would be dumb to have another lockout from a financial standpoint.

Simmons’ opinion in this documentary could be another stone on the side of the tipping scale toward the unfair compensation of college athletes. Hopefully he can add his weight to it.

If you’re interested in watching, “One and Done” airs on Friday on Showtime.