Can or Should College Basketball Save Itself?

Or, the better question, should it even try?

College basketball has become a joke and is a disgrace to the college and university system. Semi-pro athletes, taking space from actual students, use institutes of “higher education” as one-year stopping off grounds to prep for their anticipated professional careers, and there is no legal recourse that the schools have to directly stop that, but they could totally revolutionize the system with an end around, and make the NBA pay for player development, rather than getting it for free at the expense of private schools and taxpayers

as far as public schools are concerned.

But that will never happen because it would also mark the end of multi-million dollar broadcasting contracts, thousand dollar season ticket prices, and outrageous seat license fees that today all result in million dollar coach and athletic director salaries, and hundred million dollar on-campus arenas.
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At a time when seven, count them, seven, University of Kentucky players (No, not one of them is a “student-athlete”) including one junior, three sophomores and three freshmen have admitted that they are giving up their college careers for NBA riches (Hah!) and when three freshmen who this past season played basketball at (And went to class? Doubtful) for NCAA Champion Duke University, are most likely to follow suit, it is time to totally re-assess the concept and format of the sport as it currently exists at America’s institutes of higher learning.

Clearly, the schools have no legal right to restrict their enrollees from leaving school at any time to seek employment and thus they cannot force the NBA to change its procedures for accepting ex-students from applying for and being offered employment. Thus, the only way to change this outrageous system is to put a stop to the method through which it developed and by which it endures.

And that method is the dual set of admission standards in force at every school in the country that plays intercollegiate athletics. That is what has to end.

Potential professional basketball players - and this should apply to all sports, not just basketball - who have no desire to and/or who lack the requisite intelligence and dedication to attend and to excel in college, have no business
attending college, ever, and certainly not for that single one-and-done freshman year, or rather, freshman basketball season.

Solve the real, basic problem by requiring that all students seeking admission to any given college or university must meet the same admission standards as to grades, SAT, ACT, references and activities and give no special dispensation to any applicant, just because he (Or she) happens to be seven feet tall or can dribble behind their back. Return to the ideal of the real student-athlete, students first, athletes second; kids there to learn and prepare for life, not for the NBA. Let the NBA create a real minor league (none of that “Development League” phony crap), as baseball has historically had. Let the NBA pay to develop players and not swoop in and steal the benefits of that year or two of college experience, at no cost to them. The league and their billionaire owners can afford it, much more so than can the schools. The kids who enroll in colleges and universities, play ball for a year or two, and virtually never step foot in a classroom, do not belong there, period.

If you had not guessed, John Calipari has a new pack of one-and-dones lined up for his 2015-2016 Wildcats, and a bunch more on the way. Latest statistics show that minimums for “regular” students at the University of Kentucky are 490 on the SAT Critical Reading test and 500 on the SAT math test, which already are pretty darn low. I just wonder what Calipari’s latest group has scored on these? I just wonder.

It’s time to change all that.

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