Could Age Limits be Changing for Athletes Going Pro?

The sports world has dealt with the issue of age limits for athletes entering the professional leagues for decades, and the topic is again current as we enter the Final Four weekend. Kentucky’s team of “one and done” players who will inevitably jump to the NBA is widely followed, but another development in this test of age also has been jump-started this year – that of elementary school students making the headlines.

In February, the recruiting news outlet, Rivals.com, posted reports on two 6th Grade football players, following their performance at an elite camp. This is the 1st time that such a site began to publicly monitor players that young. Almost simultaneously, NBA icon Lebron James made a comment that his 10 year old son had already begun receiving recruiting letters and even college scholarship offers. In fact, James’ son who is considered the top 4th Grade basketball player in the country, is not even alone in such attention at this age. Former NBA player (and actor in Space Jam) Mugsy Bogues, noted that his grandson is considered the 2nd best player in that grade nationally and has likewise hit the college recruiting radar.

In March, articles also began to appear detailing a nine year old girl’s quest to capture a $1 million purse in the rodeo sport of barrel riding. Chayni Chamberlain had just won $40,000 in an event that qualified her for the national event, and ultimately finished in 7th place.

These reports show the dichotomy that we have in this nation over minors earning a living, or at least a guaranteed free college education, at an age before they can even drive.  Prodigy artists, inventors, writers, and actors can earn a well compensated living before they ever leave their parents care.  Yet, the thought that an aspiring football or basketball player must wait until they surpass the age in which their grandfathers were drafted in military service, still seems to split Americans.  Perhaps, with the ongoing NCAA litigation and forthcoming NBA reevaluation of their age limit, change might be on its way.