Time for an end to one-and-done culture
Going Long with Geisler
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 23:04
The University of Kentucky Wildcats, led by Head Coach John Calipari, had a dominant season, and while it is indisputable they were the best team in college basketball this year, that does not mean we should be happy they won.
Calipari has been the head basketball coach at three universities: the University of Massachusetts (UMass), the University of Memphis and Kentucky, and has achieved great success at each stop.
But that success has come with a price, as he is also the only coach to have Final Four appearances vacated at two different universities due to NCAA violations that left the programs at UMass and Memphis shackled with penalties upon his departure.
He gets off fairly easily with the media and fans because he seems to be the type of coach that genuinely cares about his players. However, based on his track record, it’s fair to guess that something shady has gone on in Lexington, Ky. as well.
While that’s just conjecture, the facts are Calipari’s teams take advantage of the ridiculous “one-and-done” rule that is screwing up college basketball.
He brings in uber-talented superstars who play for him for a year, have success and then move on to the NBA, usually as first-round picks.
This is in stark contrast with the approach Mike Krzyzewski takes at Duke University and brings in players committed to Duke for the long haul and slowly builds teams, which also do incredibly well. I may sound like an old man, but the professionalization of college athletics is an epidemic that must be stopped.
I do not actually begrudge Calipari for winning under the current system. It calls to mind political candidates accepting support from SuperPACs: it would be stupid not to take advantage of the system, and it puts you at a competitive disadvantage to take a stand against that same system. We let athletes come to school for free and in the case of top college basketball players, the NBA is essentially forcing them to come to school for free for a semester and live the life. However, when an average citizen cannot foot the bill to better their life through college education they are out of luck.
That sounds to me like a system that could use some improvement.
While I am not calling for the elimination of full scholarships, it seems the NCAA and NBA need to get together and face reality.
Let’s cut the charade and either make them stay out of the pros for at least three years after their high school graduation (the NFL model), or just let the kids make the choice they want to make (the MLB model).
Even NBA Commissioner David Stern seems to be on board with reforming the system as he has said he is in favor of adding a year, but said the player’s union would turn it down and ask for something in return.
He also said the current rule is “not a social program,” but one that is good for the business of the NBA. They want more time to look at the undeveloped talent.
Unfortunately reform like this is unlikely to occur, especially when the system rewards programs like Kentucky for becoming nothing but basketball factories that bring a lot of money to their respective universities.
But regardless of financial implications, the “one-and-done” policy should be done away with, for the good of the game.