[Ready for another one of VD's takes? Check out his previous take on Round Robin scheduling if you haven't already. -jake]
So there has been a lot of discussion lately regarding the whole Memphis knowingly or unknowingly allowing Derrick Rose to play last year, despite rumors that not only did he get his high school transcripts offered (from a D to a C) so that he was eligible, but also even more ridiculously that he had somebody else take his SAT for him. The discussion includes talks about OJ Mayo, Reggie Bush, that whole SCandal down there. Basically any player who has ever received money or special "assistance" that the whole situation could have been avoided had players just had the opportunity to go pro right out of high school.
There are good and bad points to both views. On the one hand, its true. A guy like Derrick Rose was ready for the NBA. Everybody knew he was a one and done. Same with DeMar DeRozan down at USC. And there are a few others around the NCAA college basketball scene that are the same. And its going to be that way every year. However, the flip side for the NFL is that most importantly, most players aren't physically ready for the NFL at 18, 19 or even 20. My take after the jump.My take: The rules in place are there for a very good reason. Don't be fooled when the NBA says the rules are in place are to protect the kids. David Stern said that recently. The rules are in place for the NBA to protect...gasp...the NBA. Scouts got railed too many times on trying to pick potential over production, and too many times they failed. Take a look at the previous five drafts BEFORE this rule went into place. For every one LeBron James that makes a splash, there are 10 guys IN EACH DRAFT that don't. They make these decisions because agents and their friends and their family are in their ears saying "you're going to be great!" And they believe it. And why wouldn't they? So the NBA said it had had enough, and it wanted guys to get a year at the next level so they could see if the players were for real. Quite honestly, I like the rule. I think it protects both the NBA and the players. Yes, it hurts the NCAA when these types of allegations come out. It sucks, I get that. But I was getting sick and tired of hearing about wash outs. And I know you all were too. Would it have been dumb to put LeBron James in college basketball for a year? Yes. But what if a guy like Qyntel Woods had gone to college? Maybe that extra year or two would have helped him develop. Not only into a better basketball player, but also not so much an idiot. Remember that college coaches are there to raise men (most of the time). NBA coaches are there to win championships. You may think it sounds stupid, but I know I have a legitimate point here.
The NFL is an entirely different beast all together. As said above, kids in high school are just not physically ready for the NFL. Every once in a while you get a guy like Jonathan Stewart, or Maurice Clarrett, or Adrian Peterson. But that's 3 guys. Out of hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, of high school players. If I had to make a qualitative guess, 1% of all high school seniors are PHYSICALLY ready to play in the NFL. Of those 1%, maybe 1 kid each year is talented enough AND phyiscally ready to make the jump. And even in that case, I would not trust an 18 year old with an NFL playbook. Hell NO. Even after freshman year there aren't many guys physically ready. Sophomore year gets better, but positions are limited to generally defensive backs and wide receivers/running backs. After a kids 3rd year in college, that is when the real growth takes place. And its physically normal to take 2-3 years to bulk up, especially with as much weight as these kids need to put on nowadays. But just like the NBA, I agree that the NFL has taken a good stance that protects themselves as well as the kids. But really, they are one in the same, aren't they?
There may be some argument as to the fact that the MLB and soccer leagues don't have age limits, which is true. But what the MLB does have is a minor league system. Guys rarely make it to the league before they are 23 anyways. As for soccer, well, I played soccer so that is my people, but it isn't the sport where you need to be the strongest and most muscular human beings ever, let's just say that. Is it physically demanding? Yes. But more so with the conditioning then anything else.
So all in all, I think the age limits are good for sports. Does it hurt the NCAA when allegations like this come out? Absolutely. But the NBA is a business, and not one to protect the NCAA either. David Stern said that kids don't HAVE to go to college, they have the option of overseas, sitting out a year, do whatever. But they are going to have to develop physically and I think it's a good idea. As for football, I think it's pretty obvious that this is a good thing. Kids just aren't physically ready for the NFL. So in that case, even if there wasn't an age limit, you wouldn't see many kids going to the NFL anyways. And quite frankly, the boosters in college football are going to find a way to get money to these kids no matter what. Take Michael Oher for example. For those that haven't heard his story, look it up, it's a very sad yet happy story. Best wishes to him. But he was a top football prospect when he was "adopted" by a family in Memphis, TN when he was 16, I believe. Turns out, his "family" just happened to be Ole Miss grads, who were in hot pursuit of Oher. Interestingly enough, Michael Oher became a Runnin' Rebel. Man, those SEC fans really will do anything for their football.