The “student-athlete” plight is as real as the student makes it. There are those students who are truly humbled and appreciative of their college experience (especially if they are among the first in their families to ever attend college), while others step onto campus with “short-timer’s syndrome”, knowing that they will be entering the NBA draft, for good or ill, at the end of the second semester.
I think of LSU’s Ben Simmons as an example of this. Simmons was recently put on blast regarding his chronic absences from his classes (which disqualified him from being eligible for the John Wooden award),. Simmons shrugged it off as of no importance. Indeed, his response to that minor brouhaha was that he was “focused on winning”.
By the same token, the NBA’s age limit doesn’t make much sense (I wrote about this last year for The Cauldron; you can access my articles under my Medium profile). There are those students who just aren’t cut out for academic life, and it’s not fair to force them into an environment that limits their success (student-athletes must maintain a certain GPA to play, and this opens the door to cheating and other shortcuts to ensure playing time). Just as some people are better suited to learning and employing a trade versus sitting behind a desk in a white-collar job, so should student-athletes have the choice of choosing a path to the pro leagues that isn’t fraught with potential pitfalls; in addition to the aforementioned academic issues, let’s not forget various social crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence.
Just my $.02.