After watching the OU overtime loss to North Dakota State, I realized that while Lon Kruger may be a really good coach, he is no Miracle Max. For OU to beat a quality team without any semblance of an inside game was not going to happen. At least the early exit came at the hands of bunch of corn-fed farm boys from North Dakota and not a one-and-done basketball factory.
We should have seen this one coming as Kruger’s charges this year overachieved time and time again. Fortunately for me, I was not one of those fans that drank the Big 12 Kool-Aide supplied by the national media. Basically, this was the same Big 12 that we have seen in recent years. The one-and-done era has only made matters worse for this league.
Possibly we can see some light at the end of the one-and-done tunnel as neither of the worst Big 12 offenders, KU, and OSU made it out of the round of 34. Adding to the Big 12 misery and to the OU delight was the embarrassing performance of the worst one-and-done offender of them all, OSU. Travis Smart makes no bones about his penchant for promising high school players a short stint in Stillwater on their way to the NBA. No need unpacking your bags, he will tell his recruits…
High school phenoms are sold on the idea of spending a fall semester satisfying the NCAA minimum of 6 credit hours. That’s right we are talking about two hours of class attendance three days a week. All that is required of these guys is to show up occasionally to turn in assignments provided for them by academic tutors. In order to stay eligible for the spring semester, the player will enroll in the required 12 credit hours and complete the required 6 credit hours.
As NBA draft declaration day approaches attendance in the two required classes will become more and more sporadic. If for some reason the player decides to hang around an extra year, he will continue to play the credit juggling act and complete his second year with the equivalent of one semester of college credit toward a college degree. That’s right a player like Marcus Smart who has hung around Stillwater for two years can make his way to the NBA with less than 13% of the necessary credits for a college degree.
I believe the one-and-done college game is the worst joke to be played on college sports in the 100 plus years of the NCAA. The NCAA got its start back in 1906 as the football game had become so reckless that deaths from the game had become common place. (College Football by John Sayle Watterson) College presidents stepped in and created the NCAA to clean up the sport. While no deaths have been reported as a result of the one-and-done fiasco, I suggest that the integrity of the sport is on life support. College Presidents who should care about the academic side of the college game should place pressure on the NCAA to do something.
Make no mistake about it; the one-and-done mess is not the fault of the NBA. NBA owners are in the business to make money, pure and simple. The fact that the NCAA prostitutes itself out to the owners is not the NBA’s problem. There is a solution to this hypocrisy. Major League baseball and the NFL are in business to make money as well, but these organizations have found a way to do so without destroying their game. Football players must wait three years to enter the NFL. Baseball has a similar rule with one alteration. A high school player can sign a pro contract out of high school or enter the college of their choice and wait until after their junior year to go pro. Not only are these pro sports flourishing, but so are their college counterparts.
This is not rocket science… Why would college presidents allow this to happen? Unfortunately, far too often, these guys are politicians and not academicians. Let’s get real, the NCAA could step in and correct this situation in a heartbeat. The pro game needs the college game and both can benefit by a common sense approach. Let’s reach a compromise and use the baseball plan.
For lottery picks like LeBron entering the NBA straight out of high school makes perfect sense. For other players who can use the money or those who are not cut out for the academic grind of college life, signing up to play in the NBA farm system or developmental league or in Europe would make perfect sense. For players wanting to pursue an education, committing to a three year college plan should be required. These players would have the best of both worlds, three years toward a college degree and an opportunity to develop and enhance their game.
While the baseball template is not a perfect one, it is light years ahead of the current one-and-done system. Hopefully someone at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis is listening. The game that Naismith built deserves better….