DALLAS -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes it's in the best interests of elite prospects to play in the NBA Development League instead of spending one season in college.
"I think what will end up happening -- and this is my opinion, not that of the league -- is if the colleges don't change from the one-and-done, we'll go after the one," Cuban said. "The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there's absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he's not going to class [and] he's actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League."
Under the NBA's current collective bargaining agreement, players must be one year out of high school and 19 years old to play in the league. However, the minimum age for the D-League is 18.
Cuban would like to see the NBA take steps to make the D-League a more attractive alternative to players who intend to spend only one season playing college basketball. While Cuban said he hasn't analyzed the situation enough to make a formal proposal, he envisions the NBA working with nearby universities to provide straight-out-of-high school players an opportunity to pursue a college education while playing in the D-League.
Cuban suggests guaranteeing college tuition for such players, whether or not they pan out as NBA prospects, as an incentive.
"We can get rid of all the hypocrisy and improve the education," Cuban said. "If the whole plan is just to go to college for one year maybe or just the first semester, that's not a student-athlete. That's ridiculous.
"You don't have to pretend. We don't have to pretend. A major college has to pretend that they're treating them like a student-athlete, and it's a big lie and we all know it's a big lie. At least at most schools, not all. ... But we can put more of an emphasis on their education. We can plan it out, have tutors. We can do all kinds of things that the NCAA doesn't allow schools to do that would really put the individual first."
Cuban's biggest concern about one-and-done prospects is that they're often not mentally, emotionally and psychologically prepared for the NBA after spending only one season in a college environment.
He believes the D-League could provide a better atmosphere for freshman-age players to develop on and off the court.
"You have to develop some level of maturity, and that has to be part of the process," Cuban said. "You don't want to bring kids in and just abandon them. That'd be the worst thing we could do.
"We'd have to make it so where there'd be very strict policies and rules so that, even if you're not going to go to [college] class, there's going be life [skills] classes -- how do you deal with the world? -- and you have to attend those. You have to keep up with those. We'd have very strict [rules] on why you'd be suspended if you didn't live up to them. Things that should be done to student-athletes in college and are just not. Or not always."
Cuban's preference is that the NBA minimum age limit moves to 21 and three years out of high school. However, he can envision lowering the age limit for players who go to the D-League.
"We'd have to think it through," Cuban said. "I'm not trying to jump to conclusions and say I've analyzed this whole thing out. I haven't. But what I'm saying the interest is you're to maximize your ability for your chosen profession but you'd also have to make a commitment of some sort one way or the other, either to life skills training and/or academic training."
One conclusion that Cuban has reached: Playing in the NCAA is not the ideal way to prepare for an NBA career. He hopes the D-League emerges as a clearly superior option.
"Then you wouldn't be under the stupidity of the NCAA," Cuban said. "There's no reason for the NCAA to exist. None."