Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Monday, March 17, 2014
 
Testing the NBA Draft Waters in 2014

As you fill out your brackets for the impending NCAA March Madness tournament, it's time for my yearly rant on the preposterous rules that the NCAA imposes on men's basketball players and their ability to consider leaving early for the NBA. Want to know how absurd the NCAA's rule regarding their NBA draft early-entry deadline is? It has been called "one of the silliest, most cynical and least student-athlete-friendly decisions ever." [And there is a significant amount of competition by the NCAA for this award.]
Consider the following:
  1. The NBA's draft eligibility rules, found in Article X, Section 1 of the CBA, require that a player be 19 years old, thus the concept of "one and done";
  2. In a rare moment of logic, the NCAA used to allow prospects to "test the waters" by working out with teams and getting an appraisal from the NBA's Undergraduate Advisory Committee on their draft potential;
  3. The NBA has several deadlines regarding entry into the 2014 Draft, they are: 
    • April 27th: Deadline to declare for the NBA draft
    • May 20th: NBA draft lottery
    • June 16th: Deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft
    • June 28th: 2014 NBA Draft
  4. The NCAA also has a deadline by which players must declare their intention to return to college. The kicker? The NCAA requires that college athletes announce by April 15th.  A full 62 days before the NBA requires they do so.
Thus, the incongruity of these deadlines, the NCAA requires a decision before ANY of the NBA dates kick in. It is no coincidence that the NCAA deadline of April 15th is early, it's so that college coaches are able to know who is returning to their rosters before the April 16th men's basketball signing period. This imposed deadline was created with the direct purpose of assisting in recruiting and has nothing to do with what's best for the college athletes.

The NCAA program which allowed prospects the ability to work out and get an unbiased and informed perspective on their pro potential is moot. Why? Because NBA teams won't work out players until their deadline (April 27th) has passed and someone has declared for the draft. And despite NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's intent on having the NBA, NBPA, and NCAA all in a room agreeing upon dates, age eligibility requirements, and other issues (as reported here at Boston College's Chief Executives' Club of Boston event) there is the legal barrier to this conversation ever taking place: collusion. The NCAA is not a legally recognized bargaining entity.

There's been plenty written about the absurdity of these rules:
  1. In 2011 I wrote a law review article outlining the history of the NBA draft and arguing for change;

  2. Darren Heitner wrote this piece. Marc Isenberg penned this article. Andy Katz here and here, Eamonn Brennan here.

  3. There was, of course, the great and path-breaking law review article written in 2004 by our own Michael McCann titled "Illegal Defense: The Irrational Economics of Banning High School Players from the NBA Draft."  McCann was the first person to show through empirical analysis of both on and off the court performance that players skipping college were the best players in the NBA and that an age restriction is irrational. McCann followed up Illegal Defense in 2005 with an empirical study on NBA players who have been arrested and their education level.
Again, nothing new in this post, just a reminder of the asinine nature of the NCAA restricting college students from making an informed choice about their future careers.





2 Comments:

This has to be a lot of pressure on the student athletes. Towards the end of their school semester they have to make probably the biggest decision of their life. It would be much easier on them if they could wait till the semester was over. http://www.charlesferberlaw.com/main.html

Blogger Bob Strong -- 3/18/2014 9:11 PM  


This has to be a lot of pressure on the student athletes. Towards the end of their school semester they have to make probably the biggest decision of their life. It would be much easier on them if they could wait till the semester was over. http://www.charlesferberlaw.com/main.html

Blogger Bob Strong -- 3/18/2014 9:12 PM  


Post a Comment