Personal liberty and David Stern’s push to change the NBA draft age rule


As Kentucky waits on the decisions of star underclassmen Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, and Doron Lamb (though one could probably guess the end result) chatter is picking up about NBA commissioner David Stern and his comments about the NBA draft age limit.

Currently, American-born players must be 19 years of age and one year out of high school.

“We would love to add a year, but that’s not something that the players’ association has been willing to agree to,” Stern told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

With increased pressure on the NCAA’s business model and the age limit that is already in place, some are calling a push for a two-year rule “self-serving” and only in the interest of the owners. Stern could not work something into the NBA’s latest collective bargaining agreement and expects that the change would not be made without concessions from the owners.

The argument against the rule goes as follows:

By forcing players to stay in school for two years, it serves the interest of both the NCAA and the NBA. The NCAA makes more money, by way of more star power in the regular season and post-season tournaments, and the NBA is not forced to make risky drafting decisions, after being able to see players for two years.

It works counter to the interests of the players because they must now risk injury or a declining draft stock by playing two years in college.

Were the rule to be instituted, would I like to see Anthony Davis back at Kentucky for another season? As a greedy spectator and writer who would enjoy covering such a dominant player, yes.

But in the spirit of liberty and the free market, Davis should have the right to take his talents, for better or worse, to the professional level, to profit off of them and shed the cloak of amateurism. If he were to have an underwhelming career at the NBA level and would have been helped by another year, that would be his choice. If he prospers and has a profitable, successful career at the professional level, that would also be a by-product of his choice.

It becomes increasingly difficult to defend systematic alterations that protect the business interests of owners, at the expense of the personal liberty of players. We’ll see what happens in the coming months.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?