Spendthrift Trust: An Alternative to the NBA Age Rule

By McAleavey, Susan | St. John's Law Review, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Spendthrift Trust: An Alternative to the NBA Age Rule


McAleavey, Susan, St. John's Law Review


Introduction

Brandon Jennings, one of the top point guards in the draft class of 2008, * had to put his dream of playing in the National Basketball Association ("NBA") aside this past year. The million dollar contract that Jennings had prayed would bring him and his family out of the impoverished and crime infested city of Compton, California2 would have to wait at least one year because of the NBA Age Rule. Through this rule, which requires that a player be at least nineteen years of age and one year removed from when the player graduated or would have graduated from high school,3 the NBA has determined that this 6?", 170-pound athlete,4 who clearly dominated high school basketball, lacked the maturity necessary to compete in the NBA.5 Try telling that to Lebrón James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, or Tracy McGrady, four NBA superstars who, prior to the NBA Age Rule, made the jump into the NBA directly from high school.6 Yet, unlike other high school superstars who felt coerced into attending college,7 Jennings sacrificed his collegiate eligibility to play professionally in Europe where, unlike in the National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA"),8 he can actually receive proceeds from his jersey sales and expects to earn the equivalent of a $500,000 salary.9 Jennings represents the beginning of a possible trend of players leaving the NBA to play in international leagues as a means of escaping the shackles of the NBA Age Rule.

Although intended to protect young athletes from their own inexperience and the pressures of professional sports, the NBA Age Rule fails to achieve this policy goal. Taking effect in the 2006 NBA Draft, the NBA Age Rule raised the minimum age for Draft eligibility from eighteen to nineteen.10 Effectively, the rule bars players from entering the NBA directly out of high school. Consequently, the NBA Age Rule withholds economic opportunity and stunts career development for the nation's most promising high school basketball players. Thus, the NBA Age Rule has become nothing more than a creature of paternalism and cognitive bias based on the unfounded view that high school players' immaturity renders them incapable of surviving in the NBA. Unfortunately, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association ("NBPA") seem quite content to force these athletes down a path that they would rather not take.

This Note argues that the NBA Age Rule has created a problem for which a legal solution exists: the adoption of a spendthrift trust system. The NBA Age Rule fails to achieve the NBA's goal of protecting amateur players. Instead, it merely limits potential and growth for both the NBA and aspiring players. Part I details the history and rationale behind the NBA Age Rule. Part II analyzes the inefficiency of the NBA Age Rule and demonstrates how the NBA Age Rule unfairly denies amateur players the opportunity to play in the NBA. Part III outlines a spendthrift trust system that would permit high school players to enter the NBA Draft directly out of high school and would alleviate the NBA's policy concerns.

I. The NBA Age Rule

A. History of the NBA Age Rule

The NBA was established in 194911 and consists of thirty privately owned basketball teams.12 In 1954, the NBPA formed as a union to exclusively represent the NBA players' interests.13 Working in concert, these two organizations established a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") that governs the terms of player employment and eligibility for each team in the league.14

Early on, these two groups abided by a rule that prevented an athlete from being drafted until four years after he had graduated from high school.15 Spencer Haywood, a nineteenyear-old Olympian from an impoverished background, successfully challenged this rule in the Supreme Court in 197 1.16 There, Haywood had signed a contract with an NBA team after his second year of college - when he was ineligible for the NBA Draft.17 The NBA threatened to disallow the contract, and Haywood brought suit on the grounds that the rule violated the Sherman Act's18 prohibition on contracts or combinations that unreasonably restrain competition.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Spendthrift Trust: An Alternative to the NBA Age Rule
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.