Lately there has been a lot of talk about college basketball. We’re in March so some of it is about the upcoming national tournament. There is another kind of talk about the sport which has not been as pleasant nor as as much fun as March Madness. Rather, this is the type of discussion that can potentially harm the sport, the players, coaches and respective fan bases around some of these big programs.
College basketball has come under fire over the past year and has been under a microscope. Big time programs are being investigated for breaking numerous rules which involve paying of players. Even some of our in state programs are being looked at for even the smallest of infractions. We are getting close to entering a new world of college basketball.
This whole new investigate was started by the FBI which involved some wiretapping of phones and taking some hard looks at what was given to some players. At our state level, former Iowa State point guard Monte Morris allegedly had a breakfast bought by an agent some time ago. A breakfast. Not a car, not a house, but just some pancakes and sausage.
There are varying levels that have gone into this hard look at the seedy underbelly of college basketball. From coaches offering $100,000 to a player, which has almost been since debunked in some form, still not totally sure on that one, to players getting loans which they did not have to pay back and parents getting money from a coach or booster to aid their living situations. This is going to be a long, dark period for college basketball, but there are ways to fix the fundamentally broken cycle that the sport seems to go through.
My first solution requires some help with the NBA and I think they’re working on this as well, but get rid of the age thing. If a kid wants to try their hand at going pro after high school, let them. The one and done system, obviously in my opinion, hurts the game of basketball. We all know these kids are there for a year, don’t really care about school and will just leave regardless.
The rule has allowed coaches like John Callipari to roll players through his programs the last 10 years with the one and done. However, in what I thought was an odd twist, he’s also in favor of eliminating the one and done rule. He even had a good idea. which shocked me even more, of holding a combine for high school juniors to see if they could possibly grade out for the NBA draft.
If a player gets an unfavorable grade, then education could be part of their plans. The NBA itself is also looking into ways to fix this issue.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated that in 2006, the first year of the one and done rule, they only had two players. This year’s projection sits at 20. While in the grand scheme of college athletics that may not seem like a lot, but those are probably 20 of the best players. If a player wants to skip college, maybe all 30 of them in a situation like this, let their chips fall where they may. There’s always the NBA G-League if they go undrafted to focus on working their game instead of wasting their time in college.
My next way to fix these issues is a rather simple one. When an agent or a coach buys a meal for a player, it’s against the rules. Why? Why is buying a kid a meal against the rules? I never understood that one. People have to eat. Having a coach or someone buy a player a meal should be allowed in the NCAA. Again, I feel like this is a rather silly rule that’s in place and they can even put a limit on how much a coach could pay out for that player’s meal.
Make it like $20 max for a meal per player. We’re not talking steak here but just like a pizza or a hamburger. How many programs want to get put on probation for someone illegally buying a player pancakes and sausage?
Hint: It’s none.
My third and final way isn’t so simple. It’s not paying the players, far from it, but rather if they feel like they want more money, let them find ways to earn it helping their respective programs. Make them earn a few side dollars by taking over student manager jobs like washing jerseys and so forth. They’re already getting a free ride, at most levels, for playing ball, so if they want some money, go ahead and let them work for it. Don’t just give it to them for being a player.
Those are some possible solutions to aid the fixing of college basketball. Will any of these happen? Probably not. Just don’t be surprised when the hammer falls on some big time programs in the next year or two.