In a rare instance of a network executive criticizing a league rule, ESPN President John Skipper spoke out this week against the infamous NBA’s one-and-done which has affected both college and professional basketball since 2006.
Speaking at the annual College Bowl Association meeting in Las Vegas, Skipper said “I don’t know anybody who (likes it).” Skipper says kids who leave after their freshman year don’t go to class in their second semester and schools like Kentucky greatly benefit because it plays within the rules, but adds “Nobody wants it.” Skipper said players should stay at least two to three years in school before entering the NBA.
As you’re aware, ESPN televises college basketball and the NBA and is about to enter negotiations for a new TV contract with the league. Is ESPN trying to influence the NBA to change the rule? Skipper said no, he was only stating his own personal opinion and ESPN stays out of regulation. But Skipper’s words do carry a lot of weight.
New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said changing the one-and-done rule is one of his top priorities and even Kentucky head coach John Calipari has lobbied against the one-and-done. However, it won’t get changed until the NBA Players Association finds a new executive director. Until that happens, the rule is here to stay.
But there’s no doubt with Skipper speaking out against the rule, the NBA is listening. Changing the rule would not only satisfy ESPN entering the rights negotiations, but it would also help college basketball, which is a major part of the Worldwide Leader’s programming.
Skipper and ESPN may say they keep out of regulation, but the words do carry a lot of influence with the league’s movers and shakers. Once the NBAPA hires a new executive director, we’ll see how quickly the one-and-done gets changed.