Providence College Investigates
High School Athletes Should Not Be Able to Reclassify
By Sam Scanlon ’19
Ever since the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft rules changed in 2005, many athletes have been reclassifying in high school in order to graduate and get to college, and subsequently the NBA, a year earlier. The rule change required prospective players to turn 19 during the calendar year of their draft and be at least one year removed from their high school graduation, thus, tempting many players to accelerate their high school years and graduate a year early.
Although it is very popular for basketball players to reclassify due to the draft rule, athletes in other sports have gone down this road as well. Noah Hanifin, currently an All-Star defenseman for the Calgary Flames in the National Hockey League (NHL), was a highly recruited hockey prospect from an early age. He committed to play for Boston College, but decided to accelerate his high school career and join the Eagles a year early after reclassifying.
Bryce Harper also took that path and finished high school early in order to be drafted into the MLB. After many stories like Hanifin and Harper, as well as NBA players Karl Anthony Towns and Nerlens Noel, reclassifying may seem to be a good route to take. However, I disagree and believe that athletes should not be able to reclassify in order to finish high school early.
First, most athletes are not physically ready to compete against the top athletes in the world at 17, 18, or 19-years-old. Physical development is essential to maintaining a healthy and lengthy career. Attempting to push an athlete ahead one year and stunt their physical development and growth could be extremely detrimental to their career in the long run. I do not believe that risking any sort of setback in an athlete’s career is worth getting to their respective professional leagues one year sooner.
Along with physical growth being at risk, 17-year-olds may not be mentally prepared to make these important life decisions, let alone deal with them a year earlier. Being a year younger and have to deal with college can be extremely difficult for some athletes, and it only gets harder when they step into the spotlight as a professional athlete. There is a lot to worry about from a mental standpoint while making a large jump at such a young age.
I wholeheartedly believe that it is more beneficial to take the natural and necessary year to make sure that one is both mentally and physically prepared to ensure that their career, and livelihood, will be secure.
Providence College Investigates
High School Athletes Should Be Able to Reclassify
By Eileen Flynn ’20
High school is usually described as four years of your life spent learning and growing up. There is, however, a new trend for aspiring collegiate athletes. Some families decide to plan ahead for their children’s athletic careers and have them repeat a year of high school with the incentive of improving their skills in a specific sport.
Many people disagree with parents that allow this and accuse them of teaching their kids a bad life lesson— putting sports in front of school. I believe that high schoolers should be allowed to reclassify for several reasons.
First, just because a student is repeating a grade does not mean they are exempt from doing the work again. All student athletes are still required to complete the specific classes their high school offers for that grade. Athletes are typically busy, with practices after school, games, and additional training. Repeating a grade gives student athletes the opportunity to learn the material again and grow intellectually, while also improving athletically.
Sports often play a very important role for kids as they are growing up and it is an opportunity to learn important life lessons. If a parent decides to hold their child back to repeat a grade, who are we to try and stop him or her from gaining another year full of learning from these lessons in sports and in school?
Another reason high school students should be allowed to reclassify is because each child develops physically at different times. If a freshman has not yet hit his or her growth spurt, he or she still has to tryout against their classmates who have already reached their full height. Reclassifying gives students a fair opportunity to compete against their other classmates by giving their body the time to catch up with everyone else’s.
If student athletes are looking to play a sport in college, the recruiting process takes a long time. If students repeat a year in high school, this gives them more time to reach out and contact the scouting team from their desired schools. Students that repeat a year of school show they are committed to their sport and are willing to put in the extra work in school and in the sport.
One more year in high school should not be looked upon as a mistake, but rather as a chance for the student to gain an extra year to grow physically, emotionally, and intellectually.