“At the moment, the NBA is abetting the NCAA. It should be the other way around.”

It’s funny, but if you look at the issue of player eligibility from the perspective of the NBA’s developmental league being an underutilized asset, you sure can come up with an interesting way to address the problem.  And that’s just what agent Arn Tellem proposes.

If we reorganized the D-League and made it stronger, maybe these players (and their teams) would have more options. That’s why I am proposing the NBA roll back its minimum age requirement (from 19 to 18) and allow high school standouts to become eligible for the draft again. Within that plan, I am including the following caveats and incentives:

• No prospect would be required to declare, making everyone eligible, much like baseball’s amateur draft. Prospective picks would be asked to sign a “memorandum of understanding” as a condition for consideration, whereby they would agree to forgo college if drafted. If they declined to sign, they would effectively be choosing college over pro ball and couldn’t be drafted for two more years. If they declare but never get drafted, they should be allowed to retain their eligibility and attend school. Currently, they aren’t. The crucial point here: Players shouldn’t be penalized for an ill-informed decision. Draftees should be given the option of signing in the NBA, going to the minors, or playing overseas.

What’s great about this is that his pitch isn’t being made from the perspective of helping the NCAA out of its one-and-done box.  He’s proposing it as a way of allowing the pro league to better manage the development of its future talent.  And given that the D-League already exists, it’s not as if the NBA has to spend a bunch of money and effort on building an entire new infrastructure to support that.  But I doubt the NCAA and the schools would complain about the trickle down results.

Sadly, I suspect this is one of those “it makes too much sense to have a chance” kind of proposals.  Which is too damned bad.  The NCAA and the schools ought to signal they would be willing to cooperate with the NBA on something like this.  They’ll waste a lot of time on freshman ineligibility instead.



Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

9 responses to ““At the moment, the NBA is abetting the NCAA. It should be the other way around.”

  1. Go Dawgs!

    How much of the NCAA really hates the one and done thing? I know there’s hand-wringing out there about it, particularly as it applies to the academyic mission of the schools. The schools like Kentucky who have figured out how to make it work are making big money off of the arrangement, though.


  2. ASEF

    If the D-league put together some better coaching and figured out a way to create a vesting education fund for its draftees, then players could essentially major in basketball while their athletic click ticks and then come back to college later.

    And that model would put enormous pressure on the NCAA to essentially allow the same thing.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      No reason the D-league couldn’t sweeten the pot by using tutors and/or MOOCs as an education alternative/incentive. Probably work far better than the college model for most players too.


  3. BulldogBen

    This proposal makes way too much sense for the NCAA to adopt it.

    I’ve never understood why the NBA wouldn’t raise the age limit to 20, at a minimum. It improves the college game by adding more to the talent pool, allows these young players to mature, and fans get to know the elite players for a couple years before they come into the league.

    I know this isn’t a great deal for the player but the NBA is a business, and that seems like good business.


  4. reipar

    This is a great plan until you get to the memorandum of understanding that undoes the whole thing. Get rid of that and make it just like the baseball draft and you are on to something.