The Good Doctor’s Prescription On Fixing A College Hoops Hypocrisy

Basketball, The Fam — By on March 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Luke Harangody Mad Ants

By Dr. Jeff A. Glenn / @jagadelic

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece in which I stated that college basketball is not nearly as exciting as it used to be due to the fact that the best players only stay for a cup of coffee and no real personalities are developed at this level anymore. I also lamented that nothing can be done about it since every able-bodied adult has a right to go out and make a living if he so chooses.

Well, since I’ve written this, I’ve received several suggestions on how to improve the state of affairs. I’ve also had a bout of insomnia lately and have been listening to more late-night sports talk radio than any human should put himself through. From this, I’ve cobbled together the best ideas for improving college basketball without taking away the rights of the players.

Allow NBA teams to draft players out of high school, only they have to be assigned to a D-League team for two years. The average D-League salary is $40,000, which is not very enticing. Create a $200,000 salary slot on each D-League team. The increase in attendance and ratings should help pay for this.

High school seniors must declare that they are going to college or the D-League. Those who go to college are ineligible to sign with an NBA team for two years. This gives the college game some much-needed stability. In order to play college ball, you will have to be an actual student. You can’t pretend to be a student for one semester and take off in March.

This helps everyone. Players who aren’t serious about college don’t have to participate in a ridiculous hypocrisy. They can earn some scratch and work full-time on becoming an NBA player. If they don’t make the NBA, the $400,000 they earned in the meantime gives them a nice head start into another career choice. He’s in much better shape than the kid who took basket-weaving for two years and got his scholarship pulled when his jump shot missed the mark.

Networks can once again create stars and generate name recognition at the college level. It’s that second year, after the fans have gotten a taste, when you can really put a player out there to be marketed properly.

There you have it. I’m sure that as Mr. Stern is making his exit and tossing the reins to the new commish, a plan to make the NCAA, the D-League and NBA all exist in a symbiotic relationship is being fleshed out. Don’t be surprised if something such as this is eventually adopted.

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  • Vance says:

    Yeah, this imitates baseball where if you don’t sign and accept a college scholarship, you can’t be drafted again for three years. Might help the D-League go from being an afterthought to a true feeder system. Good post, Doc.

  • Tiara says:

    The nba has to continue to develop the Nbdl as a feeder system, make it a viable paying entity.

  • JAG says:

    Agreed Tiara – The NBDL and NCAA do not have to work at cross purposes. The very few great talents who can go from high school to the pros can serve a two year “apprenticeship” in the D-League, similar to an MD doing a residency program. Kids who aren’t quite good enough for this route can accept a full college scholarship – quite a fantastic consolation prize. Hopefully, the fact that they know they have to put two years in will make most of them take it seriously and try to get something out of it.

  • I agree with Tiara, the NBDL still has this bad stigma attached to it like its a punishment rather than a training ground for the NBA; I would like to see the NBA restructure how they promote the league and really use the big league affiliates to execute it. I remember growing up seeing exhibition games between the Toledo Mud Hens and the Detroit Tigers on local TV the players were brought up to do things in the community, because they knew eventually 1-2 of these guys would be on the Tigers roster so why not expose them early so they are comfortable to the full aspect of being a major league baseball player

  • JAG says:

    Q – You and I agree. I think that making the D-League a more viable enterprise and a true feeder system would benefit all three entities.

    However, Ed and others have pointed out to me that the NBA is happy with the current system. The top prospects spend a year in college, the 2nd rounders play overseas to prove themselves and the D-League is an inexpensive way to find a few diamonds in the rough. Therefore the NBA spends next to nothing developing its talent.

    They have a point. Businesses have to be careful not to price themselves out of their market. No one’s going to McDonald’s for a filet mignon with asparagus spears and garlic mashed potatoes. The CBA had been a modestly successful minor league for over 30 years. Then Isiah came in with grand ideas and they went belly up.

    By the same token, if potential stars were brought in to play for the Idaho Stampede or Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the revenue might not be there to justify the increased salaries. When Cleveland drafted LeBron, they would not have been happy watching him play for the Canton Charge for two years.

    Of course, the current system totally exploits the top high school prospects and makes a mockery of the NCAA “student athlete”. The NBA doesn’t care about this. It’s not their problem unless someone makes it their problem.

    The only way the NBA will change is if they’re forced to. A high school kid will have to sue for direct entry into the league.

    I don’t see that happening. By the time a kids’ suit would be ready for trial, he’d be eligible to play anyway. David Stern is no dummy. He doesn’t play a hand unless he knows he’ll win the pot.

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