Seth Emerson does a nice job pushing back on the Mark Cuban canard about the one-and-done rule being the fault of the NCAA. Unfortunately, once you get past that, there’s an overwhelming sense of “so what?”. Nobody outside of the folks who’ve stroked big checks to high schoolers who flopped at the professional level thinks the current eligibility structure serves a good purpose. And everybody knows nothing can change without the consent of the NBA.
“The hope now is that with the new NBA commissioner that maybe there’s a chance for progress there. Because we certainly we need the NBA to address it,” Fox said. “That’s ultimately whose guidelines we end up reacting to. And it is my belief that if a kid is good enough to go after high school, but if they go to college, like we do in football, like we do in baseball, require them to stay for three years. Because I think it would make not only our game better, but their game better. But we definitely need the cooperation of the NBA for that.”
Fox is right, for a number of reasons. But it matters little to the NBA or the NFL. And the colleges don’t have the leverage to make that change. Neither do the kids.
This is why I can only shake my head when I see comments defending the current arrangement as fair to the student-athlete. The NFL cuts off a professional outlet for kids less than three years out of high school who wish to earn a living off their best skills. While the NCAA isn’t at fault for that, it certainly has taken advantage of the situation by using an archaic amateurism policy to lock away those same players’ ability to earn something from their likenesses while schools exploit those for their own benefit. However you want to describe the current arrangement, “free market” ain’t any part of it.
In fairness to the NCAA, I do think it would welcome the opportunity to restructure the rules in the direction suggested by Fox and Stallings in Emerson’s piece. That would make for a cleaner arrangement for those who don’t want to go to college and give the NCAA a more defensible position. It’s too bad that Maurice Clarett wasn’t exactly an attractive poster boy for the cause. You wonder if somebody like, say, Tim Tebow after his Heisman season might have been more successful with a challenge to the existing order. Maybe not, but one thing’s for sure. You won’t see the NCAA doing anything about it.