College Basketball Will Go On Without R. J. Hampton

They hope Hampton is an outlier.

R. J. Hampton was an extremely talented high school basketball player who might have be good enough to be drafted by a National Basketball Association team in the upcoming draft. But Hampton is ineligible to enter the NBA because of an age restriction rule. He is going to New Zealand to play and get paid instead of going to a college program. A decision made by then NBA Commissioner David Stern and the players association in 2005 ended the chance that graduating high school players could go into the NBA. Stern claimed he did not want to see NBA scouts at high school games. But there was an economic decision as well. Why pay a player and burn a year on a rookie contract if that player was going to sit on the bench and why waste a year in talent evaluation and development with a second contract coming up by the players’ fourth year when you can judge an older player better. By starting the clock at 19 and having a player in a college program, NBA talent evaluators would get a better read on a player’s talent and worth.

Hampton is going to get paid and not deal with the National Collegiate Athletic Association rules about student-athletes. The NCAA does not want to pay players despite the fact there would be no college basketball industry which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues annually because of players. No one is going to see Jay Wright coach. People watch the game because of the players. NCAA partners are not handing over millions of dollars to see Jim Boeheim coach. As for the players, if they want an education it is there but the players main job is basketball and making money for a school. The college basketball industry continues with or without Hampton.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim yells to his players in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Florida in Syracuse, N.Y. Photo: AP Photo/Nick Lisi, File.