Many sports pundits have debated for years about having a minimum age requirement for college basketball players to enter the NBA draft. The current rule states that players must be 19 years old the year of the draft in order to qualify for it.
So why not also have a maximum age limit for athletes to compete in college sports?
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in college football. If they win the rest of their games, they will likely play in the BCS National Championship Game. Brandon Weeden, their starting quarterback, is 28 years old. He played five seasons of minor-league baseball before joining the Oklahoma State football team. Weeden is a decade older than many of the freshmen on the team. He got his driver’s license when many of his teammates were starting kindergarten. This must beg the question: why in the world is he allowed to play? It is not fair to other players to have to play against a guy who could be a fifth-year NFL quarterback. The NCAA must change the eligibility rules right here, right now.
College students between the ages of 18 and 22 have a reputation for being wild and crazy and doing stupid things. This stereotype might be accurate in some cases, and research has shown that humans’ brains are not fully developed until the mid-20s. That is why young adults often make poor and rash decisions. It also reflects the major differences in the abilities of college football players and NFL players. Yet Weeden, at age 28, must be fully matured and a step ahead of his teammates and players on opposing teams, right? It is obvious why his team is the second-best in the country. No other team has a QB at his maturity level. In fact, it would be embarrassing if he didn’t have his team in their current position.
Back in 1999, the Florida State Seminoles had Chris Weinke playing at quarterback. Weinke, also a former minor league baseball player, was 27 years old and won a national championship at FSU that season. He also won the Heisman Trophy the following year to become the oldest player to ever to win as a 28-year-old. At the time, people probably felt the same way about Weinke as they have to about Weeden.
It just does not seem right that athletes of a certain age who have professional experience under their belts are allowed to play at the college level. Perhaps the fact that these older players are quarterbacks – arguably the most important position to play – gives their teams even more of an advantage. Sure, people go back to school later in life to earn their degrees. But when competing in athletics, those with professional sports experience like Weeden had in minor-league baseball are obviously far superior both physically and mentally than everyone else on the field when they play. If Oklahoma State wins the national championship this year, there should be an asterisk next to the team’s name in the record books. I’d even vote to add one to the ’99 Seminoles.