August 18, 2010
We already learned that new NCAA president Mark Emmert isn't a fan of the college basketball's one-and-done system. Now we also know what rule changes he plans to propose to the NBA.
In an interview with KJR radio in Seattle, Emmert said he favors a baseball-style rule that would allow basketball players to enter the NBA draft out of high school but would force them to remain in college for multiple years if they don't. College baseball players must either spend at least three years in college or wait until after their 21st birthday before becoming draft eligible.
"I much prefer the baseball model," Emmert told KJR. "But what you have to also recognize is that [basketball] rule isn't an NCAA rule. That's a rule of the NBA. And it's not the NBA itself, but the NBA Players Association. So to change that rule will require me and others working with the NBA, working with the players association.
"We'll be having those conversations, because I think it would be good for young people and good for basketball."
College basketball's one-and-done phenomenon began in 2005 when the NBA added a clause to the league's collective bargaining agreement requiring players to be at least a year out of high school before entering the league. The rule change has provided college basketball an influx of talented freshmen who might previously have turned pro out of high school, but it also has raised questions about whether education has become a necessary evil for those players.
NBA commissioner David Stern has shown interest in requiring college prospects to wait at least two years before turning pro, so it's conceivable he could be amenable to Emmert's baseball-style proposal. The far bigger stumbling block will be NBA Players Association chief Billy Hunter, who has resisted such changes in the past and could conceivably help a college player denied the right to turn pro bring an antitrust suit against the league.
Emmert won't have much time to prepare for these conversations once he steps away from his role as president of the University of Washington to take the NCAA post on Nov. 1. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement runs out after the 2010-11 season and negotiations between the league and the player's association are expected to continue throughout the next year.
"This is a situation where I can't, or the NCAA can't mandate anything," Emmert acknowledged to KJR. "Jumping down and waving your arms doesn't get it done. You need to sit down with the people that do have responsibility for this -- the NBA -- and say here's why this would be useful for us, how does it work for you, and try to find an arrangement that's mutually agreeable."