“It’s colleges that have to handle situations like this and what comes with it.”

As much as it pains me to praise a Mike Bianchi column, this is spot on.

“It is my belief that if players have an opportunity to mature as players and as people, for a longer amount of time, before they come into the league, it will lead to a better league,” Silver said during NBA All-Star Weekend. “… That’s something as I travel the league I increasingly hear from our coaches, who feel that many of even the top players in the league could use more time to develop even as leaders as part of college programs.”

Translation: NBA teams want college basketball programs to do the job of developing and marketing stars for them — for free. Clearly, the league is tired of getting players like Cleveland’s Anthony Bennett, last year’s No. 1 draft pick, who clearly aren’t ready for the NBA after only one season in college.

So Silver proposes forcing players to stay in college an extra year, meaning NCAA basketball would be be filled with even more prospective NBA wannabes, who would be forced to go from one-and-done in college to two-and-through. Donovan’s stance is he doesn’t want the extra year of headaches and distractions that come from players who have no desire to be in college.

“College basketball coaches and programs are taking on all the risks,” Donovan says. “The kid doesn’t want to be in college and wants to be in the NBA, but because of the rules, he has to stay in college. Now you’re opening yourself up for potential NCAA violations. … You’ve got players like Jabari Parker [Duke] or Julius Randle [Kentucky], and there is so much coming at these kids. If a kid takes something he’s not supposed to take or he is enticed into something, it’s the colleges that are put in harm’s way.”

One of the biggest reasons the NCAA’s stance on amateurism is increasingly untenable is because there is no professional outlet for kids coming out of high school who want to earn a living playing sports immediately and don’t want to go to college.  I’m no NCAA suck up, but that’s not the NCAA’s responsibility.

The problem is with the blatant manipulation of the labor market you see going on with the NBA here – and don’t think that the NFL won’t stoop to a little manipulation of its own if the current situation of third-year players flooding the draft continues – the NCAA is still getting stuck with the check.  And there’s a real risk it’s going to overwhelm college athletics.

It’s good to see a high-profile coach like Donovan call out Silver’s bullshit for what it is.  His peers should join him.  And the NCAA should figure out some steps it could take to send its own message to the pro leagues that it doesn’t appreciate the position it’s been forced into.

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9 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

9 responses to ““It’s colleges that have to handle situations like this and what comes with it.”

  1. samantha

    I personally don’t think it should lead to violations that the schools have to deal with. In any other profession that you go to college for, you almost always have an unpaid apprenticeship or volunteer job that gets you invaluable experience. Hell some students even pay to get that experience. Why should it be different for the athletes? You want to play in the pros? Go to college. Sure there is no degree specifically sued for professional players, but lots of bachelor degrees get you into other professional programs. I don’t see the difference. All the NBA and NFL need to do to get more mature players is reuse to draft them before they are mature. Rules or no rules. Quit the rat race to get the best players and agree maturity outplays talent.

    • In any other profession that you go to college for, you almost always have an unpaid apprenticeship or volunteer job that gets you invaluable experience.

      Generally, that’s not because employers manipulate anti-trust laws. In a truly free market, you think the NBA could get away without paying stud 18-year olds? (Hint: It didn’t before.)

      As for your “any other profession that you go to college for”, aren’t you putting the cart before the horse there? The problem Donovan is attacking is that some kids don’t want to go to college in order to play professional basketball, and wouldn’t have to but for the NBA’s restraint of trade.

    • mp

      “All the NBA and NFL need to do to get more mature players is refuse to draft them before they are mature.” If they could control themselves from doing this, they wouldn’t need to make any age restrictions at all.

  2. Reservoir Dawg

    C’mon, Senator. Bianchi’s ability to put a bug up Corch Irvin Myers’s ass is legendary. He also gave the Ole Ball Coach chronic heartburn during his Florida Times-Union days. Dude deserves a medal…

  3. Otter

    For basketball players that want to be paid to play basketball and not attend college I think believe playing a year oversees should be included in the equation.

    The players learn more of the fundamentals of basketball, their quality of life “star status” is lower than at big NCAA basketball school, and they receive a paycheck.

    The below article has some pros and cons of heading overseas:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/dave-telep/post/_/id/3311/nba-star-jennings-advice-to-aquille-carr

    • +1 – if you don’t want to go to college, don’t. Get a European league or South American league to pick you up. Oh, Nike doesn’t want to give you a bunch of money to play in Spain. Sorry, but that’s not a college athletic director’s problem.

  4. Tom

    Don’t recruit those that think they are too good to play in college.

    • Otter

      College coaches, especially in the big $$$ football and basketball, like it or not are paid to win.
      99% of coaches would not let the next LeBron James play for another program just because he was a spoiled person and leaving college after a year.
      Even UGA football with CMR recruits and signs five and four starts with character issues.
      CMR does eliminate kids, imho, because of character issues, but at the end of the day, UGA rolls the dice all the time with kids that have supreme talent.
      And I feel UGA runs by far one of the cleaner programs in the SEC/ACC/B12 etc.
      A school like BYU is in a different situation with their internal rules…

  5. Hobnail_Boot

    Notice how Donovan conveniently names blue-chip players at other programs, not the ones who chose to play for East Florida Seminary.

    He’s slicker than Jim Harrick’s snot.