NBA YOUTH MOVEMENT, PART I: CAN THE TIDE BE STEMMED?
NBC's "NBA Showtime" and "NBA Draft Lottery" coverage
addressed the issue of underclassmen and high school players
entering the NBA. NCAA Exec Dir Cedric Dempsey said their effort
to address the issue with the NBPA "has not been very
successful." Dempsey: "The Players Association has not been
interested in addressing the agent issue, as an example. So, I'm
not so sure the NBA will be any more successful with the Players'
Association than the NCAA has been." NBPA acting Exec Dir Alex
English said he has proposed a "non-political meeting" between
the NCAA, NBA and the High School Sports Assoc. English: "We
are not opposed to putting together some type of restriction, if
it is reasonable under the law." NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ
Granik: "In the past, the NCAA has not paid a lot of attention
to our views on the subject" (NBC, 5/19).
STERN ASSESSMENT: Prior to the draft lottery, NBA
Commissioner David Stern was asked by NBC's Bob Costas whether he
favors a minor league system. Stern: "No. I think the CBA does
it. I just think it's great in some ways that these kids have
such skills that they have the option of getting a full
scholarship or making decisions about the NBA." Stern did call
on the NCAA to change its rules limiting coach's contact,
allowing stipends, disability insurance, and clearing up
regulations. Stern: "Also, we urge the NCAA not to have a rule
which encourages the kids to come out by giving them the
permission to go back. They disregarded that." Stern, noting
the age of players going pro in other sports: "I'm a little
concerned why people aren't talking about Agassi and Sampras or
Lemieux and Lindros. They're focusing so much on just NBA
players." He did say "it would make sense" to have an age limit
of 19 or 20, which they will discuss with the union (NBC, 5/19).