Thursday, April 10, 2014

One and Done

Checks, Please
Today, Kansas center Joel Embiid declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, which continues to feed the fire that the Association needs to do something (Do Something!) to protect Professional College leagues from having such unfortunate turnover in their chattel.

Allow me for a minute to consider the idea that doing anything to give aid and comfort to the NCAA, including but not limited to giving amnesty to armed Americans who shoot employees of said group on sight, isn't preposterous. So. There's that.

Rather, let's examine just why it's a problem to be an 18 or 19-year-old person and make money as an athlete...

but not if you are a tennis player.

Or a golfer.

Or a soccer player.

Or a gymnast.

Or a figure skater.

Or a hockey player.

Or a baseball player.

Or a European basketball player.

No, it's only a problem when American football and basketball are involved. So, what do these sports have in common? Other than how the NCAA makes, um, all of its money on them.

And how athletes like Embiid will make Serious Money, and many of them are, um, Not White.

Whoops.

Look, I get that we're never going to get rid of the two most destructive elements affecting American colleges today. (Those would be fraternities and sports. But that's a whole 'nother unpopular post for a whole 'nother unpopular day.) But we honestly don't need to do anything to actually encourage them; they will be there whether or not they have the best players. If you aren't close enough to a Major League City, and still want to see live sports where the teams actually want to win games rather than impress the league above for just the individual talents on display, you are going to the college game. Hell, when I went to school (Syracuse, during the Mesozoic Era), I didn't want Georgetown to have great athletes. I wanted them to lose, falling down like Stooges as they did so. I did not care one fig about the level of game I was seeing. I had as good of a time watching them curb stomp Cornell as I did in watching them sweat against the Big East.

So let's not pretend that the NBA or NFL is doing anything to limit the spread of young athletes into their game for the benefit of, um, the athletes, or the game itself. What they are doing, instead, is making the informed decision that since they can do this, they will. Since there is no rival league to take that talent, and there is no additional bank to make from allowing young'uns in, and they aren't ready for the full-on war that would be their own high profile Second Division leagues to compete against the NCAA...

They can just put in any limit they like.

Which works just long enough until someone (anyone?) sues for damages, and points out this is basically rank discrimination. If you are 18, and can be tried as an adult, can die in the service of the military, and will pay income tax if you, well, have income... you should be able to work.

Assuming you are, you know, good enough to get the job.

Because sports supposed to be a meritocracy.

And there aren't no merit -- not now, and never has been -- in the NCAA.

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