Adam Silver is on record as wanting to raise the age limit for entering the NBA Draft. One of the consequences of this is that would impel basketball players to stay an extra year in school where they are playing for a scholarship, but not money. Beyond lost potential wages, athletes have expenses that go beyond what is provided by the schools; UConn point guard Shabazz Napier said recently that there are some nights where he goes to bed “starving“.
According to Darren Rovell, the NBA Commissioner said that the league would not be totally averse to covering some of these types of expenses, and others:
Silver said he could envision the league potentially contributing to make up the actual cost of attendance gap above what the players get for their scholarships and getting involved in a more complete insurance plan, which could include total disability insurance should an athlete return to school and injure himself so badly he could never play again. Currently, the NCAA provides only a preferred loan rate to elite athletes whom it deems to be potential high draft picks.
The report is not comprehensive enough to judge the merits of the ideas yet. Would the NBA subsidize these costs for all NCAA basketball players, or just ones that are purported professional prospects? Given that most first round picks make over a million dollars per year — the top pick makes over $4 million — could any gesture really be enough to reconcile a year of lost income? Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but would this path be more productive than leaning on the NCAA to allow players to capitalize on their likenesses?
Nevertheless, it’s a good start that Silver acknowledges that the NBA should provide something in return to players who would be affected by this new mandate.
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