by Daniel Bennett
Jeremy Tyler, the 6'11", 260 lb high school basketball phenom, must have read my colleague Matt Denhart's recent blog concerning the NCAA's exploitation of college athletes. Tyler, a junior in high school, last week announced that he was going to not only forgo college, but also to skip his senior year of high school, to turn pro. And I'm not talking about the NBA. Tyler is heading to Europe to play professional basketball and is expected to earn a six figure starting salary. His plan is to gain professional experience until he is eligible for the NBA draft in 2011.
On a cost-benefit-analysis, Tyler is making a great decision. He is giving up zero income for his senior year of high school, and missing out on a measly scholarship package (worth approximately $50,000) from the college of his choice, which he certainly doesn't intend to graduate from. During those two years, Tyler will earn at least $150,000 more (probably closer to a quarter million) than he would have if he played another year of high school and a year in college -- due to the NBA's requiring propects to sit out one year post-high school. Not to mention the fact that he stands a good chance to improve his pro stock by playing against better talent in international pro ball, as opposed to dominating high school kids, as well as potential paydays from endorsement deals.
It seems that this young man already understands the basics of economics, so he is not going to miss much from a principles of economics course during freshman year. Tyler's decision may kick start a trend among high school phenoms. The NCAA lobby will probably intensify because of this, as they stand to miss out on millions in ticket sales and endorsement deals if more of the country's top players follow suit.