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Tim Graham's Power Take: NBA and NFL age limits are a discriminatory scheme

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver this weekend reiterated his stance players should wait until they're 20 before they can play.

The NBA union would like the age to be 18. Even that is too high.

An age limit shouldn't exist at all.

The NBA's entry standard remains 19 years old and one year removed from high school. The policy likely will remain when the new, seven-year collective bargaining agreement begins July 1.

In the NFL, rookies must wait three years beyond their high school graduation year.

But hockey and baseball draft high schoolers. There's no age limit for golf, tennis or soccer. Those sports, comprising predominantly white athletes, are meritocracies.

But the NBA and NFL have free-labor development systems to bolster.

Age limits allow colleges to protect their lucrative March Madness and bowl-game broadcast deals, provide leagues with scouting, force players to become free agents that much later into their primes and idiot-proof the process for the weak executives.

The NBA and NFL should stop colluding and let the athletes decide when they turn pro.

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