The Degradation of College Basketball ...

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The Degradation of College Basketball ...

I originally became so fond of College Basketball, simply because I was sick and tired of the inflated salaries in the NBA which did not live up to “the good ole’ days” of the Celtics, Lakers, & Knicks !!!   I was immediately impressed by kids playing for all the right reasons ... the vast majority of them not having any chance of ascending to the Pros ... and ... actually being there to get an education, too !!!

Rarely did a kid leave early and more often than not, he graduated !!!

Then came the NBA and their big money dangling terms like “lottery pick” & “signing bonus” under the noses of these kids and many took the carrot and left school early to enter the NBA and begin to realize the earning abilities they were promised ... they were told that leaving school early was a smart financial move because of they got injured in college their “stock value” might be adversely affected !!!

Then the NBA became over-populated by underclassmen and the next onslaught were High School kids by-passing college altogether and entering the draft !!!   While Kobe, Garnett, & LaBron all became stars, there were others that rapidly faded into obscurity and nobody talked about them ...   The NBA was rapidly becoming worried about “parody” because of the underclassmen and High Schoolers, so they passed a rule that a kid had to go to college @ least one (1) year ... and so the degradation began in earnest !!! 

The colleges ended up with a number of scenarios and unfortunately, in some cases, reacted inappropriately ... here’s what I mean: 

1.       JUCO KIDS:

Kids were more interested in making themselves attractive to colleges and spent more time on their “game” than academics in High School ... many could not academically pass muster to even enter college, so the NCAA in their infinite and questionable wisdom set up the JUCO scenario whereby a kid could go to a JUCO and straighten out his academics while still working on his “game” ... this plan never made the kid take any responsibility for his academic shortcomings !!! 

2.       “ONE-AND-DONE KIDS:

Kids started to market themselves to colleges and letting the schools know well in advance that they were only interested in playing the mandatory year, then making themselves eligible for the NBA draft ... thus creating the new designation of “One-and-Done” recruits ... 

3.       UNSCRUPULOUS COACHES:

Unfortunately, some college coaches of less than the highest moral and ethical standards actually began to look for these “One-and-Done” recruits as a temporary “fix” to floundering programs and/or because the coach was a better recruiter than a coach !!!   Unfortunately these coaches were @ schools and in programmes who looked the other way because a successful season brought in “bucks” !!! 

4.       SELF-MARKETING RECRUITS:

The next by-product of this movement was that many of these kids began to embark on a elongated competitive marketing of themselves, taking the recruitment process well into the edge of the summer before they would enter school !!! 

So, why am I so upset about these trends ... and ... why do I think they a responsible for the degradation of college basketball ???   OK, glad you asked ... 

1.       JUCO KIDS:

I believe that if a kid has squandered High School years being more interested in his “game” than even meeting the most minimum of academic standards, then he should be held responsible for that choice and NOT be allowed a “back-door” into a D-1 programme where he most certainly will not be able to fully matriculate !!!  

Somewhere along the line, accountability must be enforced and realized !!! 

2.       “ONE-AND-DONE” KIDS:

When the NBA decided it needed to do something to slow down the entry of High Schoolers they passed their rule which essentially set up the college programmes who embraced it, into “wet nurses” for the NBA !!!   I believe that if the NBA is interested in fixing a problem THEY caused, they should rescind the rule, or expand it to something closer to the NFL three (3) year rule ... they could also set up a true “developmental league” where the kids would need to earn their way to the regular league ... similarly to the way it is done in European Futbol ... 

3.       UNSCRUPULOUS COACHES:

Unfortunately they will always be with us ... we all know who they are, but I believe that best way to thwart or @ least diminish their influence on college basketball in general would be to institute the points I make in #2, above !!!  

We need to let the kids who want to be in college for an education not have to compete with kids that don’t !!!  Universities are there to educate first and entertain second, and those coaches and programmes who can do both are who we should be supporting, NOT coaches who have their values skewed, regardless of school and alumni pressures !!! 

4.       SELF-MARKETING RECRUITS:

A drop-dead threshold date must be established for kids to commit to a school so as rosters can be set ... I think May 1st is reasonable because it is a little more than the Final Four ... this would give programmes and coaches plenty of time to finish recruiting !!! 

What affect will all this have on college basketball ???   Plenty, and everything positive ... it would erase the ridiculous rule which the NBA selfishly imposed on college basketball and return accountability to both programmes and recruits ... that is, if the NCAA has the chops to institute this !!! 

... and for those fear-mongers who will ask about what happens if that player injures himself in college, thus risking his earning power in the NBA ???   Easy, for every kid who suits up in college, the college purchases an insurance policy in an amount which would guarantee his first contract ... payable to the kid ... with no profit to the school !!!   In the event the kid is injured and unable to be drafted then the policy kicks in and make him whole !!! 

Now is the time to take the bull by the horns and make some substantive changes before college basketball is degraded, diluted, and despoiled !!!

 

 

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