When I was younger, I loved playing basketball. Like many of you, I would much rather have played at the local park against others, but sometimes had to settle for the driveway, alone, instead.
I did not play organized basketball past elementary school. I was a football player and wrestler. However, the sport has always had my interest.
When in college, I majored in football, with a minor in Athletic Training, so I have been around the sport for quite awhile.
With all that said, I am not a guru like many of you when it comes to basketball, but I am not totally ignorant either.
When taking some athletic training classes, they teach, very briefly, different categories of sport. Two of them being contact sports and collision sports. Basketball is in the former category.
The NCAA knows this, yet it seems as more and more seasons go by, the referees, conferences, and the NCAA itself have allowed some players to receive play against them as if it were a collision sport (football or hockey).
Take Blake Griffin, for example. He has endured some very bad shots that have not drawn much of any type of consequence.
To name some of the stuff he has endured, just this season and the consequences of the play:
Against Southern California, he got hit in the groin area. The player (Leonard Washington) who committed the foul got ejected.
When playing against Utah, Utah guard Luca Drca purposely tripped Griffin at mid-court. It drew a foul in the game, and as far as the game goes, that was it. Luca did get suspended for a game for the trip by the Utah coach.
Against Texas, Griffin was incidentally elbowed during a rebound attempt. The elbow landed in the temple region of his head and it was the leading factor that caused him to miss two and half games late in the season due to a concussion. Though usually routine by many players to secure the ball, it is against the NCAA rules to swing elbows out of the frame of the body. There should have been a foul against Texas. Nothing was called. Not even a minute later, Griffin got brushed in the face by Pittman. A foul was called. Griffin went to the bench and did not return.
While playing Morgan State, Ameer Ali apparently thought the WWE was taking auditions. Instead of playing basketball with less than eight minutes to go in the game, he decided to flip Blake Griffin over his back. Yes, Ali got ejected, but I doubt anything else happens to him. During the same game, Griffin was basically punched in the face by the same guy. The whistle never blew on that play.
It does not stop with Blake Griffin. There have been other dominating players that have had to endure terrible and dirty plays like this throughout college basketball. I point out Blake Griffin for a couple of reasons. The main reasons being he is one of the most prolific players this year and I have seen him in action more than other top players this season.
The trend for excessively rough play seems to be growing, while the referees, coaches, and the NCAA seems to be turning their heads on quite a few of these types of plays and attitudes.
It seems to be becoming a norm in college basketball. A young player goes to college because of new NBA rules stating that a player must be removed from high school at least one season.
When they get to school, they immediately impact the game for their respective team. They end up dominating their competition. Then the competition decides if you cannot beat the team, beat the star player.
However, a player (star or not) does not deserve to be roughed up by any team or any player. No matter the timing of the game or what the outcome is.
I agree with Jeff Capel, head coach of Oklahoma, when he stated, “Elite players may not want to be in college long for fear of getting hurt.”
Think about it. Players like Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, and others put the big money of the NBA aside for more than one season to play at the college level for whatever reason.
However, if the NCAA continues to allow the type of play that Griffin and others have had to endure in their college careers, then why even stay after the first year?
The risk of injury is already included in the game, why should the risk be multiplied because some thug or some thug coach wants the best player on the opposite team off the court?
To be honest, the only thing I can think the NCAA should do about it is to hand out automatic suspensions if a player gets ejected from a game other than for fouling out.
I am not talking about a one-game suspension. I am talking about a two or three-game suspension for the first offense. Five games for the second offense. And suspended for the rest of a season if more than three offenses occur in a season.
If the play seems to indicate that the coach is behind it, the coach should be ejected for a season or even life.
That may not be the right answer. But not answering the issue is not the answer, either.
I am interested in what you think. If you have a better suggestion as to how to handle the issue, please leave a comment for all to read. I will try to give my opinion on each suggestion given.
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