As a disclaimer, I want to say that I’m a huge college basketball fan. I make no bones about it, this is my favorite sport, and the Syracuse Orange is my all-time favorite team. I live by their wins, die by their losses, and, most of the time, almost die by their wins. (See: The “Cardiac Cuse” T-Shirts–they sell for $18 a pop.)
More than that, I love the 2003 National Championship team; I’d have Syracuse 81-Kansas 78 tattooed on my forehead if I wasn’t afraid of my mother physically ripping my skin off with her bare hands upon seeing it. Jewish mothers, man, what can you do?
But our hero, Carmelo Anthony, won his championship, got his MOP award, and set sail for the NBA after a year. Sure, he planned on staying at Syracuse for two to three seasons, but he ended up as a one-and-done. He’s not alone: Anthony Davis, John Wall, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, the list goes on and on. Not all players can be like Joakim Noah, who played at Florida for two seasons, won back-to-back NCAA championships, and is still healthy and playing in the NBA. And, to be fair, how can you blame them? If someone gives you the choice of offering you a ton of money to go do exactly what you want to do for the next 20 years or so, or to keep playing in college for no money, where you might get hurt and lose it all, the choice is pretty obvious, isn’t it?
But one-and-done players are still a big issue in the NBA. Our shiny new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, has expressed his desire to increase the NBA age eligibility to a minimum of 20, and he is possibly trying to add this to the 2016-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The idea seems to make sense across the board, as it is almost universally seen as a good idea.
However, Dallas Mavericks owner and all-around badass Mark Cuban has a better idea. He thinks that instead of increasing the age minimum for the NBA, the minimum for the NBA Development League should be lowered to 18, making it a more attractive option for pro basketball hopefuls than the NCAA.
According to ESPN Dallas, Cuban said:
“I think what will end up happening — and this is my opinion, not that of the league — is if the colleges don’t change from the one-and-done, we’ll go after the one,” Cuban said. “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”
Obviously, such a proposal would take a ton of work, and it needs to be fleshed out significantly more, but the core idea is still there. Instead of adding to the crumbling infrastructure that is the NCAA–like the addition of the tournament system to the BCS–start over and build something better and more attractive. We might see a talent level drop in college basketball if this system stays in place, but I doubt it would change college basketball drastically. Rather, it might even change things for the better, spurring long-needed changes to the NCAA’s policies.
Here’s an example of what needs to go. When Syracuse’s freshman sensation, point guard Tyler Ennis, sunk that three point buzzer beater against Pittsburgh, which restored all my faith in humanity, the Syracuse Athletics Twitter tweeted, “Get your Tyler Ennis Jerseys while you still can,” and linked to his jersey at the athletics store. The tweet was quickly deleted after a minor uproar, because the NCAA. To be honest, they should be promoting his jersey, and Ennis should be making a profit off of the sales. Why? Because the university and the NCAA are, so why shouldn’t the person ACTUALLY CAUSING PEOPLE TO BUY HIS JERSEY get a piece of the action as well?
Exactly. You can’t come up with a reason. I’m not advocating the death of college basketball–I love college basketball more than I love the rare person working at Chipotle who doesn’t bat an eye when I ask them for a Quesarito. I just want to see it change, just like I’d like to see the Quesarito added to every Chipotle menu across the country. We need to stop pretending the college athletics system isn’t flawed and broken, and the NCAA is doing a disservice to all of us by allowing the system to stay on this course. Why shouldn’t players be allowed to join the D-League straight out of high school, make a salary, and get real world, hands-on education on exactly what they want to do: play basketball?
Because really, life’s just like one big Quesarito–who wouldn’t want a warm, gooey mouthful of cheese with all the varied, tasty experiences that come in the burrito of life?
I’ve really got to stop writing before lunch. I’m sorry.
[via Ridiculous Upside]