This week will be a nice contrast on what NCAA Basketball is and what it could be. On one hand, we have just enjoyed another memorable "March Madness", among the best of a great event. On the other hand, we will now have the "one and dones" declaring for the draft, like our own Avery Bradley.
First of all, I want to wish Bradley all the success he can handle, and thank him for his efforts as a Longhorn. Second, I hate the NBA rule that creates this insipid "one and done" player. It is un- American not to let a kid who is good enough to be drafted out of high school to cash in on his talent. It is not fair that a player will risk injury before being able to cash in on his talent. But my concern is on the NCAA side of this issue - and would like to talk about it after the jump.
Here is my heartburn
- "One and Done" students can make a mockery of the educational institution. Often, the player knows he is going to the draft and will literally stop going to school in January. Technically, not even a student athlete at the time of the tourney.
- The "One and Done" student is potentially taking a schollie from a true "student athlete". The person that should be the focus of the NCAA. The person that the NCAA should be fostering for success.
- Often, this athlete knows they are just passing through, and has no real passion for his college choice. Thus helping spawn a cottage industry of seedy characters, and pay for play. When you don't care about the uni, when you don't care about the education, it is natural for less than wholesome factors to influence. This industry is growing by leaps and bounds and fortunately the NCAA has aggressively responded by doing nothing.
- Entire programs could care less about graduating players. Bob Huggins graduated zero players at Cincy. Bruce Pearl is on same track in Tennessee. Zero. Not even a token nerd at the end of the bench. The NCAA has new program here too - doing less than nothing.
Here is some good news
- The NCAA doesn't need these players at all. The wonderfully entertaining game between Butler and Duke was played essentially without a single player that will contribute in the NBA. So what happened? The teams played hard. The teamwork forged by years of working together was on display. The coaching and scheming was among the best performances I have seen. In a sense, the cohesiveness and experience trumped raw talent.
- Of the players I have enjoyed watching many are these mercurial talents like KD, TJ, and DJ. And in their defense - they truly did embrace the college game. But let me tell you - I enjoyed Wojo the human floor burn just as well.
Here is a proposed solution
- Raise the scholarship level in basketball to 16 players.
- Recognize that a student may need 5 years to graduate - and give the player a 5th year if needed to finish. When in 5th year - do not count his schollie against 16.
- When a coach recruits a player - if he doesn't graduate- he will be charged a schollie until his class graduates. So if Texas has Avery Bradley, and he leaves, we are charged his schollie against the 16 until 2013. It would not be open until 2014.
- When a school graduates players at an exemplary level - early departure exemptions are earned.
- GET A CODE OF ETHICS! A coach who conspires with street agents can no longer coach in the NCAA. He can be "one and done" and go to the NBA. None of this hand money in USC and go to UTEP. Or get Memphis on the death penalty and sign the richest deal in the history of the sport while slithering into Kentucky.
And finally - here is what the NCAA will do: