another brick

3/29/12

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I hate the NBA, I just fucking hate it. The number of games, the oceans of uninspired play between playoffs, the miserable egos… I know all of you can come up with exceptions, but I don’t care. The NBA is in the course of destroying college basketball, and once that’s gone, I’ll basically cease watching televised sports.

Chuck Klosterman has a devastating article on Grantland about what might happen if Kentucky wins this weekend:

“Calipari’s scheme will become standard at a handful of universities where losing at basketball is unacceptable: North Carolina, Syracuse, Kansas, UCLA, and maybe even Duke. These schools already recruit one-and-done freshmen, but they’ll have to go further; they’ll have to be as transparent about their motives as Calipari is…

… There will be five schools sharing the 25 best players in the country, and all the lesser programs will kill each other for the right to lose to those five schools in the Sweet 16… In 10 years, it might be a niche sport for people like me — people who can’t get over the past.”

Now the NBA has taken Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, and (barring a miracle) James Michael McAdoo away from Carolina, years before they were due to leave, years before a diploma. They just can’t say no to the money; neither would any of us.

I will still be there when it is a shell of the game it once was, huddled up next to the television, finding the lonely satellite transmission on channel 623, watching UNC take on Chaminade or Wisconsin Green Bay or Lafayette in early December. I will still watch, even as the salivating green monster of bullshit plucks our most talented kids away. I just wonder if anyone else will watch with me.

0 thoughts on “another brick

  1. Tim Quinn

    Youre so right Ian. The NCAA should let them sign their contracts and keep playing for 4 years. Henson could use another year of toughening. Kendall has only had 1 year as full time starter, and Mcadoo could use more playing time. Can’t blame them though, the money is too big to pass up.

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  2. Ehren

    I think it could be just as easy to characterize this by saying that only the most talented players have the power to escape the slavery of college sports. For players who will ultimately have pro careers, universities basically get to reap millions of dollars in profit from them for nothing. If the NCAA actually paid players a portion of the revenue they generate, then maybe some of them would stick around. But if I were an amazing player, I’d go pro as soon as I thought I could make an impact there and read a lot of books.

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  3. kent

    Ehren wrote the comment I would have, except for this: the NCAA ‘student athlete’ concept actually WORKS for the vast majority of student athletes. They play their sport, they get an education they might otherwise not obtain, they graduate.
    The system serves the outliers — who go on to play professional sports — very well. It serves the athletes who won’t go on to be professional athletes well.
    The people it doesn’t serve well are those on the fence between those two categories. They’re the ones who stick around for 4 years, getting an indifferent education, risking an injury that keeps them from professional careers, and then have to face life after sports.
    it doesn’t excuse the fact that many college athletics programs are massively corrupt, or that alumni care more about their teams winning than their school achieving academic excellence.
    But so goes it in a capitalist country. Money talks, money makes the rules, the invisible hand makes this the best of all possible worlds. Never mind the cruelty, venality, and corruption inherent in that system. Humankind hasn’t come up with a better one, and those who win in Capitalism will do everything in their power to prevent people from trying.

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  4. wottop

    Ehren, perhaps you don’t realize that most athletic departments [outside of the top 20 or so] MAKE money on athletics.
    Football and men’s basketball generally make money. Do you pay them and not the women’s basketball players. Women’s basketball is the biggest drain on any department’s bottom line. How about the lacrosse players or the swimmers? Nope, they play a sport that generates much less revenue than the expenses.
    Slavery is an interesting term. Last I heard, these kids can leave whenever they like. They can go to any school they can get into and pay for themselves. There is choice here.

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  5. Bud

    I agree with noj. The NCAA can (and probably should) change the rules. The current system has become a farce and needs to be overhauled.
    How about this: a player who accepts a scholarship to play in college will not be eligible for the NBA draft for the next 4 (or at least 3) years? Or until they complete their degree, whichever comes first.
    Under that system, players who are top NBA prospects coming out of High School (eg Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis) would probably choose to go pro and those who choose college would be there long enough to receive a significant education – in other words, they’d truly be the “student athletes” the NCAA keeps telling us about. It would also restore some parity to college basketball.
    I’d love for some the of the top coaches, especially Roy Williams, to stand up and demand change. I think that’s the only way it will happen.
    I hope Carolina will have a decent team next year, but right now it’s hard to be too optimistic. I hope Marcus Paige at least encouraged his McD’s All American teammate Shabazz Muhammad to consider UNC…though he would probably be a one-and-done, he will be a game changer wherever he goes….

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  6. jon

    I don’t understand why so many people perpetuate the myth that college athletes don’t *already* get “paid.” WTF is a free college education, including full year-round room and board, if not “payment?” That’s worth at least $50k per year. It’s not a university’s fault if students who choose to enroll at that school don’t actually value the free education they’re receiving.
    And while I agree that far too much of football and men’s BB revenue gets sunk into a keep-up-with-the-SEC arms race for luxurious facilities and amenities, it’s ludicrous to decry huge “profits” by the universities. There is no such thing. The money goes to fund lacrosse and swimming and fencing. MOST university athletic departments operate in the red.
    Likewise, while I’m not opposed to NCAA athletes receiving some sort of additional stipend, it wouldn’t change anything. You think an extra $100 a month is gonna stop Harrison Barnes from going pro? Really? And you think colleges should get into uncapped bidding wars for the services of the top athletes, but tell Stillman he’s gotta brown bag it? Really? It would be a WAY bigger disaster than what we have now.
    Plus, while 80% of this year’s Carolina starting lineup will play in the NBA, that’s a total aberration, not the norm. 99.8% of college basketball players will never play a single game in the NBA. So why would you make the rules to benefit the high-profile outliers rather than the 99%? Isn’t that the current problem with the Republican party?
    In a perfect world, top players would in fact decide if they valued college enough to stay at least 3 years, and otherwise go straight to some minor league like the NBDL so as not to water down the NBA with unready players as now happens. (That model actually works quite well for baseball.) But if you’re a 19-year-old star player, would you rather ply your trade in the Dean Dome in front of 22,000 loyal fans and be on ESPN every game, or would you rather ride buses around North Dakota in obscurity as a member of something called the Dakota Wizards? So don’t pretend the top players aren’t getting A LOT out of the deal as-is. Slavery?!? If that’s slavery, sign me up, bro.

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