Analyzing the WNBA’s Mandatory Age/Education Policy from a Legal, Cultural,and Ethical Perspective: Women, Men, and the Professional Sports Landscape

Edelman, Marc, Harrison, C. Keith | January 1, 2008

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) age/education policy, which generally requires women’s professional basketball players to wait four years after graduating high school before entering the league, invokes substantial debate about both its legality and ethicality. This article discusses the WNBA age/education policy from a legal, cultural, and ethical perspective. Part One of this article discusses the women’s basketball landscape in terms of sociology, race, and gender. Part Two discusses the history of women’s basketball in America, as well as the history of the WNBA and its age/education policy. Part Three explains the legal issues that underlie an antitrust challenge to the WNBA age/education policy under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Part Four discusses the likely effect on society if the courts were to overturn the WNBA age/education policy.