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  • Writer's pictureKate Stiger

Should College Basketball Players Be Allowed to Go Pro Early? Here's Why or Why Not.

With each of the generational talents that come through the NCAA, the conversation about the rules for women’s college basketball players being able to turn pro and go to the WNBA comes up. 

Freshman Juju Watkins got people talking after her 51-point performance with USC. Other star college players in recent years such as Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers, and Aliyah Boston were the focal points of this topic. They were all at their respective schools for at least four years without the option to leave early.

Current Rules

As of now, players wanting to enter the draft must be at least 22 years old in the year of the draft and have no remaining college eligibility or renounce any remaining eligibility. For most players, this means they have to play all four years of college basketball compared to the NBA where the men can enter the draft after one year of college. International players can enter the draft at the age of 20.

There are great points for both sides of whether or not women should be able to go pro earlier. 

Making the Case

For a big-name, star college player, it could make sense. There is no doubt that these players have big futures ahead of them in the WNBA. If professional teams believe that they could come in after only one or a few college seasons and make an impact, many fans think they should be able to draft them early. Lots of men’s basketball players enter the NBA draft without playing all four years of college, so women should be able to have the same opportunity. 

With WNBA expansion coming soon and salaries increasing, the pathway to becoming a pro is opening up even more. Plus, players with NIL deals can carry those into their professional careers and make money from endorsements. 

Keep Things As They Are

On the other hand, with how few roster spots there are in the WNBA, it is incredibly hard for rookies to even make a roster after they get drafted. Adding more teams to the league will help in the future, but for now, there are only 12 roster spots on each of the league's 12 teams. With so many great veteran players and talent coming from overseas, making it in the WNBA is very competitive. 

This is why so many advocate for women to have to play all four years of college. It gives these players time to develop their game and get all of the necessary training and tools to become a pro. The play in the WNBA is faster and the players are stronger, so college players need to be fully prepared to enter the league and be competitive. 

There are pros and cons no matter how you look at this situation, but with the growth of the WNBA and the rise in popularity of women’s basketball, there may be some change in the rules in the future. But for now, we get to enjoy watching the best players in college give their teams all they have for four years.


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