If the NCAA continues to battle any sort of payment to its athletes — and all indications are that it will — it could quickly see one of its professional partners turn into a competitor.
The NBA and its players union could pursue a model in which the age minimum is raised to 21 but players are allowed to be drafted out of high school, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported Thursday, citing sources with knowledge of the age limit arrangement. Under the new rules, players would have to remain in the D-League for two years or until they reached a determined age before becoming NBA eligible.
“The NCAA are a bunch of horses’ asses,” a source told the Sporting News. “If they don’t get their heads out of the sand and help these kids who come from nothing, then you will see the NBA make a move toward salaries way more attractive than they are now at the D-League level. Why not invest $100,000 or $200,000 in a player, put him in the D-League and let him stay there? At that age, you need to get them away from home and you need to get them on the court.”
D-Leaguers currently make about $25,000, which dissuades most players from skipping college to enter the NBA’s minor league. Increasing the D-League salary, in conjunction with raising the minimum age, could spell bad news for college basketball.
The age minimum is expected to become a bigger issue, as Adam Silver cited it as one of the major points he would like to address as commissioner. Now that the players’ union has named a new executive director in attorney Michele Roberts, both the league and the union can begin preparing their cases for the next round of collective bargaining negotiations in 2017.