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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Buzz Bissinger: Age limit is a joke

By Henry Abbott

Author Buzz Bissinger, writing in today's New York Times, says he once supported the idea of an NBA age limit. But evidence that it doesn't make players more ready for adulthood or the NBA has changed his tune.

Now Commissioner Stern says he wants to push the N.B.A. age limit up to 20; once again, don’t be fooled. Such a change would mean that superstar players get two years in college to further sharpen their skills. That would certainly make the N.C.A.A. happier as well as the N.B.A. owners who reap the benefits of a free farm system.

But the right decision would be to abolish the N.B.A. age limit. Equally important, professional sports leagues and the N.C.A.A. should stop jumping into the same Jacuzzi together, turning the idea of “student-athletes” into a farce, padding university coffers and keeping the pro owners from having to pay for the grooming of young talent.

If David Stern truly cared about his players’ well-being, he would advocate that all the silliness over the sanctity of the college academic experience stop and that N.B.A.-bound players get some share of the millions of dollars they generate: in the greatest capitalistic society in the history of the world, this may be the greatest inequity.

A couple of points: