You say you want a revolution.

I’m not sure how I missed this story when it first surfaced last November, and I know it involves basketball, not football, recruiting, but still, think about the implications if this became commonplace.

… There is some debate as to whom is the best high school player in America, but I’m here to tell you that there is no doubt who is the smartest.

His name is DeMarcus Cousins.

You could also make a case that Cousins is the most physically talented player in the country. At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, he possesses an NBA-ready body with shooting range that extends beyond the three-point line. Rivals.com ranks Cousins No. 2 in the class of 2009. Scout.com ranks him No. 10. Last March, Cousins, who attends LeFlore High in Mobile, Ala., announced his intention to stay near home and play for UAB.

Cousins is ready to put pen to paper and make his commitment to UAB official, but he’s adding one wrinkle: He wants UAB to put in writing that if Blazers coach Mike Davis is not at UAB next season, then the school will release Cousins from his National Letter of Intent (NLI).

“My whole point of committing to the school was to play for coach Mike Davis,” Cousins told me Monday. “If he gets another job offer or leaves for his own personal reasons, I want to be able to leave [UAB] without any problems. I need that in writing so there won’t be any issues. That’s real important to me.”

As far as I can tell, Cousins has stuck to his guns.  He hasn’t signed with any school to date and wants to see where former UAB coach Mike Davis lands before making a final decision.

But back to the main point.  Could the system withstand the shock of fairness here?  After all, the NCAA likes to perpetuate as a truism the myth that every recruit commits to the institution not the coach.  Riiiight.  That’s why Tennessee now has an athletic department display of football players who played for members of UT’s current staff at other schools and went on to NFL careers.  Good ol’ Rocky Top indeedy.

Basketball has an early signing date for recruits that football lacks.  If anything, that makes what Cousins asked for even fairer.  If college football ever goes down that early date road, I hope the NCAA concedes this little bit of control, although I doubt it would.  The irony is that it would indirectly benefit the coach on shaky ground who still managed to assemble a good class of commits (**cough** Fulmer** cough**).  Because there’s that other truism about recruiting being the lifeblood of a college program that might actually have some legs to it.

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6 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

6 responses to “You say you want a revolution.

  1. Joe

    The irony is that it would indirectly benefit the coach on shaky ground who still managed to assemble a good class of commits (**cough** Fulmer** cough**).

    But, what do those kids do if, like Tubs and Fat this year, the coach simply is unemployed? Then, they end up going to the highest bidder, and that is why the NCAA cannot start down this slippery slope.

    I understand your argument for “fairness” for the players, but unfortunately, that would last for about 5 minutes. Some coach would immediately bastardize the system and have a band of recruits which he would go around pimping to every school to get the highest bid for his services.

    College basketball recruiting is on par with prostitution, with the AAU scum acting as pimps, and this sounds like another incarnation of that joke of a system. College basketball should go to a non-scholarship sport and the NBA should create a legitimate minor-league system. The people involved in college recruiting are an ananthema and colleges should distance themselves from AAU and the rest of it.

    Unfortunately, we are seeing it leaking into CFB now, with that derelict phony who calls himself Arthur Brown’s “advisor.”

    As Jim Calhoun so eloquently stated over the weekend, his team makes $12 million for UCONN. I am no economist, but $12 mill isn’t shit. If that is all that one of the top CBB programs brings in, then there is not much reason to even consider CBB a revenue sport.

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    • I understand your argument for “fairness” for the players, but unfortunately, that would last for about 5 minutes. Some coach would immediately bastardize the system and have a band of recruits which he would go around pimping to every school to get the highest bid for his services.

      What if the coach doesn’t get a gig? Do the kids just follow the guy around for a year like baby ducks?

      And why do you have fairness in scare quotes?

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  2. Well, I can’t remember exactly what Calhoun said(I was too busy laughing after the “shut up” exchange), but if the $12m is top line revenue, I agree–that’s peanuts. However, if the basketball program is clearing $12m in Hartford freaking Connecticut, in the Northeast where no one cares about college athletics, I’d say that’s still pretty impressive.

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    • I thought the best moment of the Calhoun presser was when the beat writers groaned in response to that pompous twit’s statement along the lines of “I wouldn’t be doing this if the rest of you were doing your jobs”. Hilarious.

      By the way, I don’t think Calhoun was saying the UConn program was netting $12 million, but that it was generating that amount in revenue. Here’s a study about what the D-1 programs were generating from 2003-2007. If Calhoun’s managed to lift the program up to a $12 million a year surplus, he’s got a point when he defends his salary.

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  3. David H.

    Cousins is under no obligation to sign a letter-of-intent at all. He can simply tell UAB, “Hold a scholarship for me, and assuming Coach Davis is still there, I’ll be arriving on campus this summer.” If I were him, that’s what I’d do. Of course, UAB in that case would not be obliged to hold the scholarship for him, but given how highly recruited he is, they certainly would hold it.

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  4. HVL Dawg

    Joe: “College basketball should go to a non-scholarship sport and the NBA should create a legitimate minor-league system. ”

    Amen. Let real college students play the game- and pay them a fixed amount of cash.

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