Commentary

Fixing one-and-done not that easy

Updated: April 11, 2012, 10:46 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I am getting fed up hearing about and reading comments about the one-and-done rule.

Think about it ... how many players does it really influence anyway? The bottom line is, the rule usually affects the upper-echelon players and elite teams. People seem to have a negative opinion about it, but that did not hurt John Calipari and Kentucky in its recent run to a national championship.

There are critics of coaches who take an obvious one-and-done player. That is the most absurd criticism that I have ever heard. In fact, Calipari uses it to his advantage.

Who in their right mind would turn down players like Derrick Rose, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Give me a break. Those who knock one-and-done players have to note that Calipari is simply a better recruiter than guys he is competing with. His teams have benefited by the rule and have been in the hunt for the national title at Memphis with Rose and at Kentucky, finally culminating with this year's championship in New Orleans.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Davis
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesAnthony Davis's first season at Kentucky will likely be his last.

If you really want to change the rule, there is a way to do it. Unfortunately, nobody wants to listen. You have to get a lot of parties together to make it work, like the NBA players' union, the NCAA, the NBA. I believe the union doesn't want to listen. They want to have a 19-year old start the clock and perform on a roster without always thinking of the long-term ramification. These kids have to make a major adjustment to travel, time management and more importantly, money management.

We have heard the arguments in other sports. What about tennis, golf, baseball, hockey? The truth is, if a kid is ready to play, he should be allowed to chase his dream and goal. There are a few that are ready for the NBA life out of high school, as proven by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

I honestly believe the college baseball rule works. Once an athlete steps on a college campus, he should stay there for three years. I don't even want to talk about this any more, but I am as guilty as anyone. I give the rule more publicity.

Giving a student-athlete three years gives him time to mature, more one-on-one coaching that you don't get on the next level with the rigorous travel schedule and more shootarounds than true practices where you can learn the game.

I read Calipari's comments that if you want to help change things and keep kids in school then the NCAA should pay for some insurance to protect players from injuries. That would entice them to stay in school.

If a kid stays in an extra year, the NBA should alter its salary structure to reward the student-athlete who is now more mature and prepared for the pro lifestyle and game.

You can do a lot of things to excite people, but you have to get all the minds in one room to work together. That means David Stern, the NCAA and the players' union work in harmony for a solution to what many consider to be a problem. That is just not going to happen any time soon, so let's stick to the real world.

Right now, we have the one-and-done. Do you think that many of the elite programs wouldn't want an Anthony Davis out of Chicago? You know they would take those guys.

That is why Calipari deserves an A+ because he has recruited the best of the best.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.