The NBA has been an ever evolving sport ever since its merger with the American Basketball Association in 1976. Since then, the league has created a three point line, re-introduced the dreaded zone defense, and flopping has been widely accepted by the league despite the inconsistent fines from them.
More rule changes are potentially on the way, as a result of the two-day owner’s meeting headed by newly appointed NBA president Adam Silver. The long time apprentice of former president David Stern, Silver has taken little time to take action in his new position. The league president reiterated his proposal of raising the NBA age eligibility from 19 to 20. While this may be the more controversial potential rule change to the league from those suggested, Silver and the league owners have many others to discuss with the NBA players as well as future players.
Silver and the league owners met with NCAA president Mark Emmert in New York for the meeting. The discussion circulated on Silver’s proposal to raise the age of eligibility to enter the NBA. While the motion will be a high priority for the owners, Silver also expressed his desire for better treatment to NCAA college basketball players. The league president believes there should be initiative to close the financial gap between scholarships given to student-athletes and the actual cost of attending school. While Silver does not currently hold any authoritative position in the NCAA, the presence of Emmert leads many to believe the NCAA president will support future league plans that are associated with college athletes.
There are also talks of college basketball rules and regulations that will be in discussion to be changed to cater to more of an NBA style of basketball. One particular example would be the shot clock being reduced to 24 seconds instead of the current format of 35. Emmert seems more than willing to assist the league during this process. Although it does look as if the league raising the age limit might benefit the NCAA, another potential change could unintentionally make them competition.
Before any changes in the NBA can take effect, the National Basketball Players Association would need to collectively agree. This may not be a problem as, according to many sources, a counter-proposal is prepared by the players union to dramatically raise the salaries of the NBA Development League players before they would agree on any change on age eligibility. The league owners are expected to agree to the counter-proposal, where college basketball players who do not want to stay in school can play in the development league, which currently does not have any age restrictions.
The current max D-League contract is $28,000 while the average income of a development player is $15,000. The increase amount the players are looking for is not currently known, but the current goal is for a livable pay that does not require another source of income. The NBA may unintentionally start to compete with the NCAA because as a result.
Commentary by Hector Carrion