It is now more abundantly clear than ever that the one and done system does not work. Not only is it a failure, it promotes academic fraud, manipulation of kids, and corruption across the NCAA and AAU basketball.
Over the weekend, more information on the FBI investigation into NCAA basketball was released via Yahoo. To say the information was rough is an absolutely incredible understatement. Schools and players all over the country have been committing huge violations with help from corrupt boosters, coaches, and shoe companies. Many powerhouse schools have committed violations, but some are bigger than others and much of it is still rumored to be true and not yet confirmed. Not a ton is know for sure other than it is really really bad and has been happening nearly everywhere. The most notable violation that was reported and found through a FBI wire tap was committed by Arizona coach Sean Miller. He knowingly bribed top recruit and draft prospect DeAndre Ayton 100 grand to attend the university and play basketball.
Arizona getting Ayton simply because they paid more than other schools is absolute bull shit. College basketball and this era is beyond tainted. How do you feel if you are a school that recruits and does everything by the book and busts your ass every day? You work as hard if not harder than anyone else to potentially get knocked out of the tournament because the other school cheated and got better talent.
Wins need to be vacated, houses need to be cleaned, people need to be banned for life. This is similar to the steroid era in baseball, except for one major difference. Those were grown men making the choice to break the rules and taint their era, these are KIDS being enticed by college coaches and representatives, agents, boosters, and shoe companies to break the rules and cheat. You can’t blame the kids though, some of them get offered thousands of dollars that they may never have the chance of seeing again and really need for their family.
So who is to blame?
The finger can be pointed at a lot of people right now.
1) the NBA for putting this rule into place
2) the NCAA for letting this happen and it get this far
3) the coaches, agents, shoe companies, and boosters who are shoveling out the money and illegal benefits
4) every single person who helped put this rule into place, voted on it, contributed to it, or even promoted it
5) all of the people who looked the other way or sat by silently while these violations continued to go on
Now why is this rule even a thing in the first place?
It was put in place for “the protection of the kid” so they will essentially get an education and “be prepared for life” in case their basketball career does not work out.
To me though, this rule was put in place to try and create more revenue for the NBA and even the NCAA (because what else would it ever be about besides money). If kids are going to colleges for a year+ versus going straight into the NBA, ticket prices and merchandise and sales of much more are elevated due to higher talent and a better product of basketball being created for the NCAA. For the NBA (who put this rule into place), it allows players to be more developed when they get to the league, have more hype and attention around them, and it raises the level of play if all players have been developed in college for at least one year before arriving. On paper it is a win win for both the NBA and NCAA, but the harsh reality is that this rule has damaged basketball and the image of the NCAA severely.
Abrupt change is warranted now more than ever. It is crystal clear that there is no way to keep money out of the game, especially with how much attention AAU gets now. It is time for the kids to get paid, but not by the NCAA.
A new league for kids out of high school that plan on going to the league needs to be created. Kids would be allowed to put all of their time into training and working on their game, while also being paid for their performance and image like they deserve. Love him or hate him, LaVar Ball has actually talked about creating a league similar to this and it is absolutely genius. If executed the proper way, by the proper people, with enough good coaching for the kids, this could be an absolute home run.
A kid can always go to college if the NBA dream doesn’t work out. If they were to go play in a league (like previously discussed) out of high school and make a little money but it doesn’t work out, it isn’t the end of the world. Depending on how the NCAA would determine eligibility if a league like this were created, kids could potentially even get scholarships to play ball in college and get an education after playing in the league. Even if they do not play basketball for the school, money made and saved from the league could potentially pay for a college education. Why force players to take classes if they could care less and are just at the school for basketball? The university doesn’t care about them as a student, they just want them on the court and often will do whatever it takes for that to happen (as we’ve seen).
Another alternative that could fix this awful one and done rule is to switch to a draft system similar baseball. Out of high school (or potentially even earlier if they were to wish) kids could be drafted and a team would own the rights to them. So kids could still go play college ball or play overseas, but the team would talk with the player and agent to determine the best path of success for the kid and organization. The team could potentially decide that the kid plays in college until he is ready to be called up to the league, or maybe he is ready right away and he signs to the G league affiliate team or straight on to the active NBA roster. It would give a lot more wiggle room for the player, school, and team while also eliminating the corruption from the game.
Whether it is similar to what I just proposed, or entirely different, something needs to happen and the one and done rule HAS to go for the sake of the game.