What NBA and NCAA Need from Each Other

What NBA and NCAA Need from Each Other

The cold war over the league's one-and-done rule is starting to heat up. NCAA president Mark Emmert recently told reporters that the NBA's age minimum has been awful in that it has put prospects who have no interest in college into the higher education system. NBA commissioner David Stern quickly sniped back that schools didn't have to admit every one-and-done player that pops up, and that they could enforce classroom attendance and grades stronger. Andrew Sharp covered the NCAA's hypocrisy on the matter expertly last week.

Both sides exaggerate their position, of course: the NCAA wants the best players in the world for a longer period of time, and the NBA wants a free farm system to limit draft mistakes, provide marketing help and keep NBA rosters from turning into mysterious collections of 18-year-olds. (You can have your Quentin Richardson-Darius Miles Clippers. I ride with the Jonathan Bender-Al Harrington Pacers.)

What the current battle really serves to do is shrink the likelihood that Stern will pitch Emmert a bone and push for an age-20 minimum in upcoming talks between the league and its union. (Because of the vast financial concerns to be addressed in the completed CBA talks, important issues like draft eligibility were pushed to committee status for the upcoming offseason. A panel of players, league executives and lawyers will discuss the matter.)

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