The NBA wants to up the age minimum to 20 years.
Given the success of Lebron, Garnett, Kobe, etc., I think that's completely ridiculous, but I suppose the league is free to do what it wants -- independently. What bothers me is how blatantly the league is working with the NCAA on this issue.
There are basically two sports that make money for colleges: football and men's basketball. It strikes me as mighty "coincidental" that those are the only sports where you can't go pro if you want. Want to be a professional women's tennis player? Knock yourself out. Want to leave school and be a pro track runner? Go right ahead. Want to leave school after two years to be the number 1 NFL draft pick? Whoa now. Can't do that.
These restrictions are largely justified by pointing out that the NCAA doesn't set the age limits -- the leagues do. The NFL says you can't play for three years after high school. The NBA says you can't be drafted til you're 19 (and trying for 20). The schools have nothing to do with it.
Well this process shows how completely full of B.S. that argument is.
"The league's owners hosted NCAA president Mark Emmert to discuss the issue as part of their annual
two-day spring meeting this week."
Interesting. Surely someone is there to stand up for the college athlete's right?
"If we're going to be successful in raising the age from 19 to 20, part and parcel in those negotiations goes to the treatment of players on those college campuses and closing the gap between what their scholarships cover and their expenses," Silver said. "We haven't looked specifically at creating a financial incentive for them to stay in college. That's been an option that has been raised over the years, but that's not something that is on the table right now."
The NBA commissioner is discussing what is on the table in terms of player stipends. Not the NCAA president. The commish of the pro league.
I don't see how anyone can read these public statements and actually argue that the age limits imposed by pro leagues are some sort of independent decision that is merely coincidentally beneficial for colleges.
College basketball players will be locked out of (by far) the world's most lucrative basketball league for an additional year, and that decision will be made by the NCAA, the member schools, the NBA owners, and the NBA players. All of whom will personally profit by raising the age limit.
And who is missing? The players, obviously. I can't believe we allow market participants to collude so openly to stifle competition and artificially control the free market.
At least football has a colorable argument that the rule is for the safety of the players. Lebron et al make that a laughingstock for the NBA.