Why did underclassmen declare for this year's NFL and NBA drafts?

They had to realize they were heading into a lockout. What does it accomplish for them? Why not play another year, adn be able to paly right away when you’re drafted.

Because they know the lockout is unlikely to last all season (something that’s happened once across all four pro sports). And getting paid is better than not getting paid.

Nobody gets paid during the lockout.

The new pay scales in both the NBA and the NFL are going to be worse for the players. The NBA players can get signed under the current plan and make more than if they waited a year. The NFL will probably end up with a “phase in” plan where every year the rookies get a smaller share of revenue until it gets to the level everyone wants. The NFL players aren’t too happy that rookies get contracts bigger than guys who have established themselves as NFL successes after six or seven years.

This NBA draft is not looked upon by the experts as being terribly good, especially with likely high selections like Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, Perry Jones of Baylor and Harrison Barnes of North Carolina choosing to stay in school. Some players who probably would have struggled to get very much attention in stronger drafts figure that now’s the best time to take their chances. Gotta go while the getting’s good.

No shit. But the lockout will probably only last about a third of a season, and 2/3 of a salary is better than bupkis.

The way I see it, there are at least two concerns for players who have a choice between declaring into the draft and staying in college: financial and developmental.

RickJay recently mentioned in this post that even a few weeks on the league minimum salary is quite a bit of money.* If the underclassmen make the reasonable determination that the lockout will only be part of the season, then they stand to benefit significantly, from a financial standpoint.

I’m not sure what the developmental benefits or costs will be, or if they would take those into account. I’m sure there’s a continuum of concern for continued development, with some players not caring at all whether they continue getting solid coaching this year and some players who are very concerned about it. Probably the most risk-averse didn’t declare and the least risk-averse consider the prospect of making NFL or NBA money worth the risk.

*The player he mentioned was indeed promoted again and was used to pitch in a blowout loss. Woo, Mike McCoy!

Early-round draft picks can make plenty of money (relatively) on even minor endorsement deals and trading card licenceing.