Dillon Flanigan- Sports Editor
The National Basketball Association, NBA, includes a traditional 82-game regular season but is implementing the “65-Game Rule.” This new rule has gotten a rise out of the basketball landscape from players to fans, with many reflecting on the decision.
The logic behind the NBA’s decision is based on acknowledging players’ grueling schedule while also wanting to enhance the quality and quantity of the player performance over an entire season.
In the last five years, fatigue and injuries resulting in consistent absences have become a recurring theme among star players. The league believes a minimum requirement of games played is needed to cease unnecessary days off by star players. If not, they will not be eligible to be considered for major awards, including the Most Valuable Player award at seasons end.
The “65-Game Rule” applies to Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, the All-NBA teams and the All-Defensive teams as well. However, the Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year and the All-Rookie teams are not impacted.
Another goal of the rule is to minimize player injuries while ensuring that star players are healthy enough to play during nationally televised games. When stars do not play in key games highlighted early in the season, the broadcasting company loses viewers and in turn loses ad revenue in negotiations.
With a league mandate at hand, the NBA is hoping teams and players do not sit out games voluntarily. This is aimed at the players as the league tries to uphold a competitive season for all fans.
Although this is new, in the 2016-2017 season, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to all team owners stating there are “significant penalties” about resting players without reporting the circumstances.
Guard Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers has voiced his opposition to the new rule. This is in lockstep with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that the players negotiated with the league and owners in July 2023. Fans are wondering why the players are against this if they agreed to it many months ago.
The “65-Game Rule” is not so cut and dry. There are loopholes and standards that need to be met to qualify. The breakdown of the rule includes how many minutes they play in the game and whether they are injured.
There is a loophole for an instance where a player gets hurt and records under 20 minutes in the game, and it is considered a season ending injury. In both cases, being under the minutes threshold and injured are not to count as one of the 17 allowed games to be missed.
“The 65 number is more of a failsafe in terms of incentive that if a guy was really going to sit out again, having nothing to do with injuries, that he wouldn’t be eligible,” Silver said in September 2023. “We’re trying to say, this goes to those fans whether in the arena or people watching on TV or whatever device, that the expectation in this league now is that we are an 82-game season, and if you’re healthy, you’ll play.”