Link – NBA making plans to get involved at high school level, once again

This has always made more sense than the one and done rule.

“A plan is expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court. It would ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League, sources said.”

Could it be that the NCAA’s current mess is creating a situation where the NBA commissioner is ready to cut them out of the elite basketball player development model completely? Or at least is willing to compete with the NCAA instead of trying to work with them?

And would it be better for the NCAA to get out of the elite basketball player development market and be a truly amateur sport again? There’d still be a lot of good basketball players, but this might take some of the money/influence out of their game, which the FBI might be forcing them to do anyway.

I think what we have now is going to look a lot different in a few years.


Link – College sports warn against moves to legalize betting

Oh I think we already know that this is going to happen.

“Noting that unpaid college athletes are especially vulnerable to large amounts of money flowing through their game and that “there is a serious concern as to where all this new money would go,” McMillen said that nearly 80 percent of the members of his group were opposed to legalized sports betting.

“These kids are on scholarship. Listen, we’ve seen point-shaving scandals before,” he said. “We’re concerned.”

They absolutely should be concerned. On the other hand, they should have been concerned about agents working with schools to get kids money and this latest news from the FBI shows that they did a pretty horrible job at finding that, so why should we think stuff like this isn’t already going on?

It will, however, be yet another case of everyone making money from college sports except the kids actually playing. So why shouldn’t they bend the rules a bit?


Link – College football heads in wrong direction with largest attendance drop in 34 years

Why? Lots of reasons I suspect, but let’s look at the easy one first:

“Bowl game attendance also declined for the seventh straight year to an average of 40,506 in the 40 games. That marks a 23 percent drop-off in average bowl attendance since 2010.”

The playoff has created three really interesting bowl matchups. The other 37 bowl games? Glorified exhibitions that are totally meaningless. It’s no wonder that fans aren’t all that interested in traveling and attending these games the way they used to be.

But what about the larger issue, the trend of fewer people showing up even in the regular season?

Yes, I’d agree that students don’t turn out the way they used to, and that’s part of it. They aren’t looking at football as a huge part of the college experience, although I suspect many of them tailgate and watch on TV. It’s just spending 4+ hours in the stadium doesn’t really interest them as much as it once did.

It’s also that many games college program fan bases are in “playoff or bust” mode, meaning that once it becomes clear this isn’t a playoff team, why bother showing up? Especially if you’re playing some FCS team that you don’t care about at all.

Also, tickets are expensive. That’s a lot to spend to take the kids to a game.

Lastly, football in general is going through a change within our culture due to head injuries. There are a lot of people questioning whether to even watch football any more, especially at this level where players aren’t even being paid for the risk they are taking. There’s some moral ambiguity in being a football fan in 2018, and that’s going to keep some people away.

Mostly though, I think young people simply don’t want to dedicate their entire Saturday to a football game. Given the pregame events, the length of games themselves, and the limitations on what they can do in the stadium, why not just watch on TV, or just catch the highlights later?

And that’s not good news for the NCAA.


Link – How LaVar Ball’s new basketball league could actually end up being a good thing

I’ve long been a supporter of a minor-league of sorts for football and basketball where kids who have interest in college can play. So, I’d agree with this:

“If somebody, even LaVar Ball, can create a league that offers a real alternative then maybe schools can go back to focusing on true student-athletes and the country’s best basketball players can focus on being basketball players.”

Unlike college football, which I suspect would see a massive decline in fan interest, and money, if the best football players skipped college, I don’t think fan interest in college basketball would wane significantly. Sure, there’d be less NBA fans watching to check out potential draft picks, but I don’t know how large that audience really is. March Madness would still be March Madness. That has never really been about individual players ass much as it’s been about small schools, the tournament feel, and brackets.

This could end up solving one of the biggest headaches the NCAA has right now, one and done’s and recruiting violations around those players. And they’d have freaking LaVar Ball to thank for it.

Oh the irony.


Link – It’s time to change the transfer rule and let athletes play immediately and not sit out a year

This is hard to argue with, and I’m not even going to try, because Bilas is right –

Step back from the ridiculous rhetoric in the transfer debate and go to the very foundation upon which this entire industry is said to be built. What does NCAA president Mark Emmert say every time the thought of athlete compensation is broached? He says, quite simply, “These are STUDENTS,” as if stating that simple phrase is dispositive of the issue. The NCAA says in word and deed that athletes are “students that just happen to be athletes” and “athletes are students to be treated like any other student.” Furthermore, the NCAA is quick to state that athletes are NOT employees. They are unpaid, amateur STUDENTS. That is the bedrock principle of the NCAA, and this analysis doesn’t even approach any of the NCAA’s “student-athlete welfare” rhetoric.

Well, if it is true that we are talking about students being treated like any other students, the NCAA’s transfer policy should be quite simple. Any athlete should be allowed to transfer at any time and accept all allowable aid from any school that will have him or her. The transferring athlete should be eligible to play immediately upon his or her full-time enrollment at the beginning of the next semester or quarter leading to the next full season after the transfer. There you go. Done.

Of course it won’t be that simple, because coaches and ADs are not going to like not having control over all of their athletes, but there really is no reason they should have that level of control. I’ve gone to college and worked in the real world for a long time, and I’ve never once been held to that kind of standard when chancing schools, or jobs. Why would an unpaid student be held to a different standard? Because we want them to play for our team as long as possible and not go to a rival?

That sounds a lot like professional sports before free agency, which was also deemed to be illegal, but at least those guys got paid.