I keep hearing this question. Everyone is asking me, from friends, to family, to pets, “how do we fix college basketball?” Yes, college basketball is broken. Pay-to-play schemes are ruining the integrity of the game. Whether Rick Pitino is sitting in his office blissfully unaware of the strippers, hookers, orgies, and shoe brokers corrupting his recruiting base at Louisville; or Sean Miller is sweating through a hotel room floor on a wiretapped phone call with Christian Dawkins to give DeAndre Ayton a hundred grand, the system is broken. Even my Spartan’s have come under fire, as Miles Bridges mother was the recipient of lunch and a $400 loan from Dawkins. Fixing college basketball is a difficult question that demands a difficult answer.
Wait, it’s actually pretty simple. Scrap your stupid fucking rule.
One-and-done is ruining the game. Of course schools are going to be looking for a “competitive advantage” when coaches like John Calipari are turning out freshman teams every single year. You think a kid like Marvin Bagley, who is good enough to leave high school early just so he can get college out of the way just so he can go pro, is going to say no if someone says he can get paid? It’s not the athletes fault, the culture allowed this. Agents, apparel companies, and dirty coaches make shady promises to 18 year old kids who, well, as Lonzo said “everybody knows” everybody does it. These kids assume they can get away with it, and if the schools get caught, who cares? The kids will be pro by the time it matters.
Let these kids go pro out of high school. If they’re good enough to get paid, give them the option. But don’t try to tell me they should be happy to receive a free education, because the kids going pro aren’t even using it. Look at Ben Simmons. He admitted at LSU his second semester wasn’t monitored, so he didn’t even go to school. In the case of kids that play 4 or 5 years and become insurance salesmen or financial advisors or whatever they may do, the full-ride is plenty. But the student-athletes going for graduation aren’t the student-athletes getting paid. And therein lies the problem with the one-and-done. You’ve removed the “student” from student-athlete. They aren’t going to school to study or get a degree, they do it because it’s a stop over. Look at Josh Jackson. Jaren Jackson. Ben Simmons. Markelle Fultz. We could go on forever.
One-and-done turned college into a semi-pro farm system. If the NCAA is so butthurt by rules violations that they vacate more than 100 wins from Louisville, maybe they should look at why their rules are being violated in the first place. Here, I’ll help you; it’s because they’re stupid. You don’t want to pay kids? Fine. Don’t force them to go to school then. It’s been fun watching Coach Cal roll the ball out to halfcourt, telling his starting five of five-star freshman to go hoop, and calling timeout occasionally, but let’s give these guys the option of whether or not to skip that showcase. It’s not the players fault, it’s not even the coaches or agents fault. They’re all taking advantage of a broken system. It’s on the NCAA to fix it.