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NCAA: Pro leagues should allow athletes to be drafted in high school

NEW YORK, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- NCAA officials say they are pushing professional sports leagues to allow athletes to be drafted directly out of high school.

Conference commissioners say they want the National Football League and other leagues to change the rule that effectively forces athletes to go to college before they can enter the major league drafts, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

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The NFL requires players to wait three years after graduating high school before they can apply to the professional drafts. The National Basketball Association says players must be 19 and one year out of high school.

"I don't think it makes any sense to force kids to go to college who don't want an education," said Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany asked last week, "Why is it our job to be minor leagues for professional sports?"

The NCAA is promoting the proposal as it finds itself at the center of a debate over whether college athletes should be compensated beyond their scholarships. A California federal judge is considering whether to grant class-action status to a lawsuit by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon that alleges the NCAA conspired with the business partners to minimize the value of a player's name and likeness.

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An NFL spokesman said the league is not considering any changes to its draft policy. The NFL Players Association, the NBA and its players association didn't respond to requests for comment, the Journal said.

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