With the way John Calipari has recruited at Kentucky in his first three seasons, it's likely he will continue to bring in players capable of playing professionally sooner rather than later. Calipari has declared himself in favor of increasing the amount of time players are required to stay in school.
However, Ric Bucher of ESPN.com is reporting that, due to the tight timeframe in which a deal needs to be finalized, the current draft rules are likely to remain in place for at least the next two seasons. Beyond that, a few different options are being explored:
While it has been widely held that the NBA would like to push the age limit to 20, sources familiar with the dialogue between the two sides now say it is expected to remain at 19 for at least the first two years of the new deal and possibly beyond that.
Several alternatives have been discussed, sources said. One option would be to allow players to enter the draft directly out of high school but have the option to withdraw and go to college, similar to the draft rule used by Major League Baseball. Under this concept, a player would next be required to attend at least two years of college before entering the draft again.
Another option would be to revise the rookie salary scale by adding incentives to stay in college longer, a source familiar with the labor talks said. Potential incentives would include increasing the salary range for each year a player stays in school or allow him to qualify for free agency sooner.
There are several ancillary reasons why keeping the age limit at 19 for the time being is desirable. The first is the limited time the owners and players have to complete a collective bargaining agreement by Dec. 9 -- the date commissioner David Stern has targeted for the start of training camp and free agency. All significant rules pertaining to league operations have to be in place by then.
With so many high level issues still to be hashed out, "B-list" issues like draft eligibility appear slated to be pushed aside in the short term.