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Bilas Responds To Brill & Skorupa

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| Bilas Responds To Brill


Jay was nice enough to respond again, and also to
note how much Bill Brill elevates any discussion.

Your symposium stepped to a much higher plane with Bill Brill. There are few out there with his knowledge and experience regarding the college game, those who play it, and the bodies and rules that govern it. Great stuff.

Another response, this time to Matt Estes: Your analysis of the variables to be taken into account is excellent, and an area I chose not to address in the "just over a page" format. However, I don't believe I conveyed the idea that players "should" take guaranteed money. I simply stated that few would turn it down given similar circumstances. That is certainly not to say that it is right for everyone, or wrong for anyone. The issue of whether to leave school is a complicated one that involves far more than money. However, when it is boiled down to simply a business decision, and a kid will be a First Round draft pick, all you are talking about is money and maximizing earning potential. Essentially, you can get out a spreadsheet and calculate what a kid would make by leaving now, then try and project where the player would be drafted the following year and determine which scenario makes more economic sense. I raised the issue of guaranteed money to highlight one of the most relied upon inducements for a youngster to leave college early for the pros. I have no doubt that, irrespective of draft status, if NBA First Round contracts were not guaranteed, fewer collegians or prepsters would leave as early.

Note to DBR: I responded to the other person on the first posting, which I wrote just under the e-mail response to SoCalDukeFan. It discussed the legal points he brought up. Thanks for including me in this. It has been fun!  

Here's what we missed. Sorry Jay & John!


To John Skorupa:

You raise some great issues. While college
athletics may be considered a de facto
minor league, it does not exist for that
purpose. If that view is taken, isn't high
school and AAU competition just a minor
league for college? Isn't every institution
just a "minor league" for major
corporations? The pro teams don't exploit
college sports with predatory policies any
more than Fortune 500 companies exploit
universities when they interview on campus.
They just pay more for qualified applicants.
Players who leave early seem to feel
exploited by college athletics, rather than
the pros. Where the NBA has been
predatory is simply in accepting the early
entry of the fans' favorite players.

I agree completely that the analysis of
college athletics should be taken to another
level. For what purpose does college
basketball exist at Duke or any other
institution of higher learning? Is it simply to
field the best team? Is it to make money?
Is it to raise the profile of the university,
where the media coverage would cost an
incredible amount of money for equivalent
advertising? Or, is it a necessary part of
the educational process? As you correctly
point out, that is the starting point of a
good discussion.

On your other points, there is no legal way
to force the pro ranks to establish minor
leagues. Isiah Thomas recently acquired
the CBA to make it a minor league for the
NBA, but that is likely to result in even more
players deciding not to play college
basketball. The only proposal I have seen
to stem the tide of early defections is the
NBA's idea to have an age restriction of 20
years old. In order for that to pass antitrust
muster, it must be a mandatory subject of
collective bargaining, and be agreed upon
with the Players Union. That does not seem
likely without significant concessions from
ownership. Without Union agreement, any
age restriction would violate federal
antitrust laws. There was also a proposal to
link free agency with years spent playing in
college. Still, a player is left with the
question of being paid for waiting out the
time period, instead of staying in school "for
free". College sports cannot possibly offer
the same finacial incentives as the pros, nor
should it.

Any restrictions that would limit a player's
choice to play in college or turn pro seem to
present difficult issues. Do we really want a
system that requires a kid to stay in college
a certain amount of time when he doesn't
want to be there? Isn't that tantamount to
an involuntary servitude, even though it may
be in his overall best interest (in some