Don't Begrudge Players for Opportunities

Don't Begrudge Players for Opportunities

A new baseball season is under way, the N.B.A. is headed toward another exciting finish, and yet the University of Kentucky’s success in men’s basketball has sparked outrage that lingers a week after the national championship game.

Why is there such hand-wringing?

Later this month, college underclassmen who wish to enter the N.B.A. draft must declare their intention to do so. Five of those undergraduates are expected to come from the Kentucky team that helped Coach John Calipari win his first national championship. All of Kentucky’s starters — two freshmen and three sophomores — could be selected in the first round when the N.B.A. holds its draft in June, their next crucial step toward the realization of a cherished dream.

Yet Kentucky’s success has prompted critics to predict the demise of college basketball and the end of higher education as we know it.

In an ideal world, everyone would stay four years and graduate. But Kentucky’s basketball program is in fact a tribute to a real-world system that works, preparing young people for a viable profession — in this case, professional athletics.

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