SBD/April 21, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Adam Silver Reiterates Desire To Raise Minimum Age Limit, Looks For NCAA Input

Silver doesn't anticipate the age limit changing before the '15 NBA Draft
NCAA President Mark Emmert on Friday visited with NBA owners in N.Y. and Commissioner Adam Silver again said that the NCAA should "have a seat at the table" when the NBA and NBPA "discuss the league's draft-eligibility age," according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. Silver at an NBA BOG meeting reiterated that he is "interested in raising the age limit to 20." It was Silver's first BOG meeting as commissioner since "taking over for David Stern in February, and the more Silver speaks, the more it is clear raising the age limit for the draft is at top of Silver's priorities." Silver: "Historically what you've heard is that the age issue is one that needs to be negotiated almost in isolation between the NBA and its union. What Dr. Emmert and I agree on is that the NCAA needs to have a seat at the table, as well, for those discussions." He added, "Ideally we want our teams in a position to have more information about these young men before they come into the league, and from a developmental standpoint we would like them to have more opportunity for them to develop before they come into the league." Silver "does not anticipate that happening" for the '15 draft, but said that the rule change "can be amended to the current collective bargaining agreement without the current CBA expiring" (USATODAY.com, 4/18).

COMING OF AGE: SPORTING NEWS' Sean Deveney cited sources as saying that a proposed plan that is circulating now would "see the age limit extended from its current position -- one year after high school graduation -- to three years, essentially barring most players from entering the NBA until they are 20 or 21." Sources said that, in order to "pave the way for raising the age limit, the league would be willing to expand salaries in the D-League, giving each team a salary cap and allowing executives with each team to sign players as they wish." Not only would that "allow D-League teams to sign good young players, it would allow NBA clubs to size up young executives and player evaluators." The idea behind the potential change is that while the NBA "wants to keep out players who are viewed as too young, it does not want to deny them the chance to make a living" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/18). CBSSPORTS.com's Matt Moore noted the D-League currently "employs a three-tier structure of salaries for players, with the 'C' players making around $18,000 per year and the top end making a little over $30,000 per year." It would "have to coincide" with a full adoption of the D-League in a "one-to-one ratio of affiliates." The "only thing keeping many players from the D-League instead of going to Europe is the money." A higher pay level "not only helps the kids coming out of high school who want to start developing their games now, but would raise the overall quality of the league by bringing many of those players back from overseas." The more "pressing concern is about the money, where it would come from and how it would be distributed" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/18).

LEARNING FROM THE COMPETITION? In Denver, Terry Frei writes in the NHL's "sensible draft system," players generally are "eligible to be drafted at age 18." Teams can "either sign them right away or leave them in major junior or with their NCAA or European teams, as they retain their rights." Frei: "It has its downsides, including the meddling of NHL teams in the NCAA world, and it also leads to 'one and done' departures." But it is "better than the NBA system." There is "nothing wrong with taking players right out of high school, if they're good enough." The NHL's system "isn't as good as the best one -- baseball's, where players can be drafted out of high school, but go back into the pool if they don't sign then and aren't eligible to be taken again for three years" (DENVER POST, 4/21).
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