No matter what rules sports leagues come up with clever agents are always going to find a way to circumvent them.
The NBA draft is tomorrow. Currently players cannot enter the draft straight out of high school. They must wait at least one year (or until they turn 19) before being eligible to play in the NBA. That DOESN’T mean they can’t be paid for playing profesional basketball.
Take the current case of highly prized recruit Brandon Jennings.
Jennings was scheduled to attend Arizona this fall. However, he failed his initial college entrance exams. Jennings retook the tests and passed. However, the NCAA flagged the test scores and made him take his entrance exam a third time. The USA Today says the results of those test results are due out today.
Whatever the NCAA decides, Jennings may just decide to tell them to go to hell. He is already on record as opposing the NBA’s rule forcing players to go to college. He has also been quite vocal when interviewed in all-star games and appearances on televised games on ESPN that college basketball players need to be PAID for their services.
Should Jennings decide to play professional basketball in Spain, Italy or some other foreign country he would pocket at least $100,000 (usually tax free.) He would then be able to enter the NBA draft in 2009 where the teen point guard is projected to be a top five pick. Jennings doesn’t have an agent but he does have a personal “lawyer” who could negotiate his contract.
Foreign clubs may also be opening up their purse strings looking for talent. Juan Carlos Navarro recently re-signed to play in Spain after a stellar rookie season with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. The European club actually outbid the NBA for his services.
Note: Following the USA Today article and one in the New York Times, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports also decided to write about this topic today. Also, a radio station is claiming its interview with Sonny Vaccaro is the impetus for Jennings deciding to go to Europe to play pro ball.