It’s one of the most controversial issues confronting not only the NBA, but American sport – should there be an age limit for entering the league?
Currently, the NBA requires any of their players to be at least 19 and have spent at least one season at an American college, or have played one season professionally overseas.
There are a multitude of arguments on either side.
Some of the arguments in the affirmative refer to not only the basketball player, but the man, not being developed enough to lead the life of a professional athlete at any age younger than 19.
There’s also of course the NCAA crying out over the loss of its product and revenue.
However, the arguments in the negative are also compelling – if a legal adult in most of the free world is 18, should they not be allowed to make a living like other adults – in this case, in their chosen path of professional sport.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver takes a similar path to the man he followed, David Stern, and is of the belief that an NBA player should have to spend at least two years in college to be eligible – one more year than currently required.
NCAA president Mark Emmert believes the opposite to Silver, thinking that if a player is not committed to their school's athletic program – oh, and of course their academics – then they should not be forced to.
While countless solutions to this problem have been raised over the years, I would like to focus on a two-step solution that has a fair amount of value to it.
The major reasons players are leaving college after one or two years is obviously money and the fact that the NCAA restricts the making of it whilst at college.
While colleges and the NCAA get filthy rich off the talents of these young adults, some of whose families have not a cent to their name, if a player so much as gets given a free lunch, he’s out the gates and his scholarship is torn up.
The NCAA is so paranoid over missing out on a slice of the pie that they even took the prize money off a college athlete who happened to make a halftime half-court shot.
This one is a no-brainer really – let the athletes earn what they can via advertising, shoe deals, interviews, etc, and they will get a lot more kids staying in college.
Yes, the NCAA does lose a small amount of profits that would get passed straight on to the athletes instead of into the organisation's pockets, but they stand to make a lot more having their drawcards staying in their system.
Really, it would be a win-win, and it is crazy that it is not already the case.
However, you would still have the one-and-done kids with their eyes firmly on the cash they can make, and with no interest in the college basketball experience.
However, if the NBA looks to go down the path of Major League Baseball, they could potentially combat this.
Currently, college is not mandatory for those who want to play in the MLB, but if a player does choose to attend college, they must complete a certain amount of seasons.
If the NBA implements this, setting the bar at two college seasons played and keeping in tact their age limit, they will give their players two potential avenues.
The first one being to go to college, make what you can off selling yourself to whomever wishes to buy, while the institution has a commitment from you for at least two years.
The second being to go overseas, make as much money as you can, strengthen your game in a professional league, and come back to America when your contract expires ready to play ball in the NBA – provided you are of age.
This situation sees a win for all three parties – the NBA keeps the current age limit and gets more experienced players from college, the NCAA gets a two-year commitment from each player, and the player themselves is free to play and make money in any way they like.