Special to the Tribune-Star
The “One and Dones” done went and didn’t! (I know this is grammatically incorrect, but I want those folks down in Kentucky to read it.)
The basketball team that won the NCAA championship started two seniors and two juniors, which says something good about going to school and working on an education. To keep it from being absolutely perfect, they didn’t start a single player from the state of Connecticut. I guess in today’s world that’s expecting too much.
Kentucky broke no rules, but they make a liar out of the term “student athlete.” You are not a student athlete if you are going to enter the NBA draft, and this year the floodgates have broken out and a ton of so-called students are going to be in the draft. The “one and dones” didn’t have to go to school after February. (As an individual, this doesn’t mean very much to a man of my age except it seems to me it is just an old-fashioned scam, a simple lie … that’s all it is.) The players, young men in their teens, cannot get the attention if they play in a lesser professional league than the NBA, so the stage and the attention the NCAA spreads out for them is an obvious temptation to a far richer paycheck than any of them could get in a normal job.
So what is there to be done? The NBA not only feeds off this new crop of players, they tend to save a little money not having to pay a player that has more experience. They get this new wave of talent ultimately at a cheaper price.
It seems to me to be a little upside-down. The last thing I read about it mentioned nearly half of NBA teams lost money, yet they can pay the rookie sensations millions of dollars every year. How long this can go on depends upon the amount of fans that continue to fill the arenas and the amount of money the league makes from outside sources, i.e. sales of jerseys and such stuff.
It should be obvious if about half of the teams are losing money and not enough fans are filling the seats. And it would appear the television rights are not filling up the coffers to keep the bad teams from losing money.
So, where does this leave us? The NBA is going to have to raise the rate of acceptance into the league. For example, the player must be 20 or 21 before he can register for the draft. The NCAA is going to have to make some provisions for stipends of some kind so the players will have enough money in their pockets to buy a midnight snack, if they so desire. Or maybe we’ll have to go back to fewer or maybe no scholarships, and those who want to go to school will play for the love of the game. This idea was probably doomed from the start. But, hey, it was a thought.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.