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O.J. Mayo: Whose Fault is It?

Miah D.Senior Writer IMay 18, 2008

Let me introduce to you another concept of sports that has been attracting my eyes lately: the NCAA rule vs. the NBA.

It is established that the NCAA does not allow its players to be drafted before playing one year of college sports. It is an age-limit clause they agreed to with the NBA.

Then you have O.J. Mayo.

Mayo is a talented 20-year-old basketball player who has been playing with the University of Southern California (USC).

When he was still playing with his high school team, all eyes were already on him. That guy got an article for himself in the Ashland Daily Independent when he was still in sixth grade; and then in Sports Illustrated in seventh grade.

So Mayo came to USC with his 6-foot-4 frame and his amazing record.

And then the news broke on ESPN: he has been receiving gifts during his years at USC and even before. The gifts have been reportedly from BDA Sports Management: one of the most famous agents in the NBA. According to the report, the BDA would give money to Mayo in exchange for a verbal agreement that they would cooperate when he turned pro.

Mayo has been denying the whole story. Apparently, an SUV and a flat screen TV has been involved, and the receipts are there. For Mayo, what plays on his side is the fact that he gets to school on a bicycle "like everyone else."

My question is as follows: what is the one-year clause for? Why don't they just let the boy turn directly professional and put his talent to work in return of an actual wage?

Let's make a few picks: to advertise their teams and give their coaches the roster of a lifetime; to get the players more mature and more prepared; or finally to get the players more educated? What about "all of the above?"

On one side, you have Mayo; trying to make a living while at school. The guy is a big-time gifted player. On the other side, there is the one-year rule, making him play to "promote" his team till he turns eligible for the NBA draft.

It is no surprise that this early famous player is attracting everything and everyone around. Considered as the most talented high school player of the United States, it was a matter of time before the BDA or someone else would come into the picture.

It is no revelation to anyone, it is big time business for the NCAA. At least, they should reconsider their rewarding system.

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