Many sports use their Championship Weekend to outline a “State of the Game” as I snapshot in time. I’d like to use this opportunity to examine what I believe is the single most damaging influence on college basketball today—the “One-and-Done” recruit...
The High School player who has no intention of completing a normal four-year matriculation but rather using the school as a stepping stone to the NBA !!!
The present state of affairs if due to the pseudo-brilliance of David Stern who felt his league could be inundated by High Schoolers who all thought they were the next Kobe, Garnett, or LeBron...players we all regard as the exception rather than the rule!!!
So they instituted the age/graduating class rule which has only complicated things for both the High Schoolers and the colleges...
We have already seen the likes of Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, DJ Augustine, OJ Mayo, and the list continues into those leaving early this year!!!
My opinion is that this is a pox on college basketball and one which will resist the vaccination of the NCAA as long as there are coaches who purposely recruit these players without regard for the fact that college athletics is suppose to have a two-fold mission: To educate the player as well as give him a positive experience of moral, ethical, and sportsmanlike competition !!!
To disregard one for the other is a denial of the mission of the university as well as the NCAA charter and student-athlete oath !!! It also reduces those colleges which embrace the “One-and-Done” kids to a wet-nurse for the NBA ...
Now I’m fully aware that athletics are a major revenue stream for universities but I have to ask ... At what cost??? Which brings to mind the words of the Apostle Matthew what he wrote: "For what profited a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul???"
The mission statement of any university is to educate their student, first, last, and always...but to purposely bring in recruits with the understanding that he is there to simply play his heart out for one year so as to propel him into a higher draft pick is wrong from start to finish and needs to be corrected before it evolves into some much worse than it is already!!!
One of the reason prime athletes state for leaving early is that they could conceivably be injured to the point where they lose the earning ability they might have had be leaving school early...certainly a valid consideration since basketball, both college and professional has become more and more a “contact” sport where injuries are expected and an injury free year a very “lucky” thing!!!
So how do we find a meeting of the needs of the student and the athlete??? I believe I have a viable alternative...an insurance policy!!!
What if the NCAA refused to allow “One-and-Done” players and the universities were able to purchase an insurance policy to cover the, now, student-athlete’s earning power...after all, there is a benchmark for this in the NBA collective bargaining agreement!!!
This way, the school get the services of the athlete until he graduates...and I use the example of Jay (then Jason) Williams of Duke, who completed his matriculation in three years with a significant course of study and a degree!!!
The school would have no profit from the policy but foot the premiums to have the services of the student-athlete for the period of full matriculation!!!
In the event, the student-athlete got injured and risked his career it would be up to the insurance company to make the determination and thus the student-athlete no longer risks future wages by staying in school and getting an education !!!
There is a precedent for this, in case you were wondering...if you recall the “Special Master” who was charged with settling claims for the families of those lost in the 9-11 attack, he/they established what each person’s earning potential ad abilities were and a settlement was made...
My proposal is certainly a less maudlin set of circumstances, but it preserves the mission of universities, considers the concerns of the student-athlete, eliminates the “One-and-Done” recruit (and those unscrupulous coaches who practice such recruitment) and perpetuates the purity of the game we all love !!!
So what about it, NCAA...what do you think???