Age requirement or business proposition, you tell me

Jordan Harirchi

By: Jordan Harirchi, Assistant Sports Editor

After a starting lineup chock full of underclassmen won the NCAA National Championship, the only question left to ask is which one of those players won’t go pro.
In a world where money and material goods are a driving force behind its workings, one is left to ask why there is an age requirement past legal adulthood to enter the National Basketball Association.
Players like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Moses Malone and Lebron James have all come out of high school and been successful. I know every high school entrant in the NBA hasn’t fared as well as these remarkable players, but it seems raising the age initially wasn’t about ensuring a more polished product or because of a difficulty in measuring high school talent against pro talent.
If I was going to enter the draft out of high school and went to college, I probably would take a pottery or music class instead of pre-calculus to pass my time. So the age requirement probably wasn’t invented to coerce players to learn more before making the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Sending these kids into the college basketball environment to play for big-time programs, makes the school, the conference the school is in, broadcasting networks and various sponsors millions of dollars richer. But what’s in the best interest of the kids?
Whether you’re for the age requirement the way it is now or in support of allowing players to go pro after high school, you really have to question the reason behind an age requirement. Why should a player who is capable of going pro after high school be forced to spend a year without a big paycheck, all the while filling the pockets of many other parties despite the danger of a career-ending injury?
How does a recruiting conversation go with these top college programs? Is there any reference to the academics the school has to offer, or is the school advertised strictly on how quickly and efficiently it can prepare you for the NBA?
In 2009, David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, was quoted, saying the move to require players to be 19 and one year out of high school was a “business decision.” And that’s exactly what it is: a business decision strictly for the big dogs, where the pawns in the puzzle are forgotten or simply not cared for past their potential to maximize profit.
Subjects such as this, and the case for paying college athletes, will always litter conversations regarding college sports. I’m not trying to convince you there should or shouldn’t be an age requirement for any professional sport. I’m only trying to further the conversation and raise questions that may not have been asked or thought of.
Is there really any benefit for the players regarding this issue? If these athletes ever do feel they are being cut short in the long run and protest for a lengthy amount of time, maybe the NBA will outsource like many other companies do when dealing with employees’ complaints.
Can you imagine an NBA with all international players?

Email Jordan Harirchi at [email protected]