Thursday, February 01, 2007

One Hit Wonders

No big action across the country yet tonight. Those of you who live in the West or just want to stay up late, try to catch Oregon/UCLA at 10:30 Eastern. The game should be televised on FSN.

Kevin Durant's big night yesterday brought up the controversial subject of eligibility in the pros. Of course, with the current system, Mr. Durant should be making NBA money at this time next season while college basketball could be without its national player of the year. The same goes for Greg Oden, the 7-foot man child from Ohio State. Both of these players were forced into college by the system and will most likely leave their schools behind without a thought towards graduation. Such cases make a mockery of postsecondary education.

If you had to spend one year in college to play basketball, what kind of classes would you take? To be honest, ballroom dancing would be at the top of my list. While their classmates cram for exams, all many "one-and-dones" have to do is stay academically eligible for a year and look good for scouts. This disproportionality widens the division between the student and the athlete. Without a diploma, college basketball loses the amateur status that makes it truly special.

How can we fix the system? There's no perfect solution, but why not follow college baseball's lead? High school students can go pro upon graduation and start in the minor leagues (why not expand the D-League and make it more like a basketball community college for players right out of prep ball). Students looking to enroll in college may be recruited in the current fashion, but must stay for three years. During that time, progress must be made towards a degree. This would keep players from using the NCAA as a spring board to the professional game and would allow the most talented to seek employment right away.

There are holes, of course, but why not try to fix the problems we have in college sports? With stories about crooked boosters and the Reggie Bushes of the world, the NCAA has an obligation to work towards a solution. Here's step one to fixing college hoops.

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