NBA players' union wants lower age limit

With the lockout in the NBA, get ready for a lot of money to be argued over and plenty of hand-wringing or whether next season will be played. Already the owners and players association are drawing lines in the sand, and it could get ugly.

College basketball observers should care because with the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire in a matter of hours, it's possible that we've seen the last of the one-and-done era. That's because the players want the NBA's age limit lowered.

Players want to revert back to the pre-2005 rules, where players only had to be 18 years old to declare for the draft. As of now, they must be 19 years old and one year removed from high school graduation.

So imagine that. Prep players would be able to go to the pros just like old times in the way Kobe Bryant and LeBron James used to do it. They didn't have to sign up for a year of college they didn't want and years later could always joke with the college coaches who recruited them what it might have been like in a college uniform. It became an issue of those players doing what they wanted and making their own decisions for better or for worse.

If the age limit did revert to 18, players who had never really wanted to take their talents to school wouldn't have to play along and then leave after their freshmen seasons. Coaches wouldn't have to deal with it. And while college basketball fans might miss out on the big-name stars for a year, they would be able to see more continuity on the teams because rosters would feature players who presumably want to be there.

The NCAA could also do a lot to promote that by mandating a two- or three-year commitment before being able to declare for the draft, similar to the way it works for college baseball. It'd be something current college players seem to support.

It will be interesting to see where the age limit ranks among the demands the players association will have and if it merely becomes a bargaining chip and possible concession during the negotiating process. For now, it's an intriguing possibility to consider that one-and-done might really be done.