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Will there be a change to the NBA’s age limit?

Feb 7, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT

silver AP

The current “one and done” rule is one that has received a high amount of attention in recent years, especially during this season given the number of high-level freshmen on the scene. That rule is a product of negotiations between the NBA’s owner and its players association, with the 2004 NBA Draft being the last one in which players could go directly from high school to the professional ranks.

Every few years when the league’s collective bargaining agreement would need to be renegotiated the rule would seemingly fall by the wayside, with the owners and players eventually moving on to topics that were deemed more important than the possibility of making young players wait longer (or not at all) to have a shot at the NBA.

That could change in the near future, with David Stern retiring as NBA commissioner last week and being replaced by his long-time right hand man in Adam Silver. According to’s Scott Howard-Cooper, one of Silver’s biggest goals is the raise the NBA’s age limit to 20 and require that a player’s high school graduating class be two years removed before being eligible to enter the NBA.

At present time, and this would likely be the case even if the age limit were raised to 20, players don’t have to attend college during their one year “wait.” There’s the D-League and overseas leagues, although the number of players who have taken advantage of these options has been low. For some this is because college basketball is seen as the “best” place for players to develop, but there are certainly people who don’t agree with that.

Will a rule change benefit college basketball? Yes. Who wouldn’t want to know that they’d be able to watch a player like Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins for two years (and to be clear, we don’t know for a fact that they won’t be back in school next year despite the assumptions)? But there are also other variables at play, the biggest of which likely being if the NBA decides at some point to use the D-League as a true minor league “system” for it’s professional franchises.

At present time 14 NBA teams have a direct relationship with a D-League franchise, with the D-League having a total of 17 teams. Is the D-League in position to expand, thereby allowing all 30 NBA teams to have its own franchise to develop young players in? The answer to that question could impact how beneficial an age limit change would be to college basketball as well.

Clearly there are many variables to be discussed when commissioner Silver meets with the newly elected powers that be of the NBPA. All college basketball can do is sit back and wait, with many hoping that the NBA will add a year to its age limit.

h/t The Sporting News

  1. shockertalk - Feb 7, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    ON ONE HAND: I am a libertarian and, therefore, feel all adults (18 year olds and up), should not be restricted in taking their talents into the marketplace. Players used to go straight to the pros and I am not aware of the problems that caused the young players. Even if there were problems, it is the right of all citizens to make a wrong decision. Rules shouldn’t restrict young adults becoming pros, but should control how the pro franchises handle young adults.

    ON THE OTHER HAND: A true 30 team minor league system will hurt college basketball. Parity will diminish because the best players will go to the power conferences and, since there are fewer of them, the other conferences will not get them or have as good a chance to compete in the NCAA tourney.

    ON THE OTHER HAND: Should the pros leave their D League limited as it is, a two year rule change will improve college parity since the top conferences won’t be able to put all the good players on their rosters. But, this might cause the D League option to be chosen more, and in the end the two year rule won’t change anything.

  2. kljohnson1248 - Feb 8, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Why not go back to the non freshman eligible rule? Academic programs should structured to benefit the new students, and not lower the cost of athletics. Football does well with red shirt freshmen and five years to graduate. Let’s do the same for basketball.

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