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Huge NCAA Reform Being Discussed

The NCAA is discussing
giving up on amateurism almost entirely,
which would be beyond a
sea-change. That's an unbelievable change. It's interesting in a
number of ways, not least of which would be that kids could theoretically go
back and forth between college and the NBA. Is that an improvement? For
Leon Smith it would be, of course, and other guys who overestimated their
talent.

In a lot of other ways, it is such a radical change that the results can't
truly be anticipated - and once you go there, you can't go back. What
happens if Magic Johnson had retired and come back to finish his degree? That's
an extreme situation, of course, but not impossible. What happens if he
comes back and offers a bunch of mid-level players cars to be on his team?
Legal, we'd presume.

Jay Bilas said the other night that the NCAA is trying to regulate summer
ball and AAU ball - things which are outside their sphere of influence. He
essentially said give it up.

Krzyzewski has made some really intriguing proposals along these lines,
essentially that basketball should a) set up a governing body, presumably
including the NBA, NCAA, high school, AAU, and whatever else needed to be
incorporated, maybe even shoe companies for all we know.

It would certainly be possible, for instance, to set up an evaluation system,
perhaps monitored by the NBA Players Association and some retired coaches or
players,who could give young prospects honest evaluations of their talent.
You could see a group consisting of, say, Morgan Wooten, Howard Garfinkel,
Larry Bird, and Dean Smith, among others, having some weight as
evaluators. If those guys tell you you aren't ready, or you won't have a
long career, you should probably listen - and probably would.

There's no question they have to find a better way to deal with the whole
business, and business is a precise word in this instance. Who Wants To Be A
Millionare? Everyone who isn't, and the further away you are, the more you want
it. Totally understandable. What should happen here is education.
We're in favor of people being educated in the high sense of the word, but in
this particular arena of basketball, everyone is convinced they'll make it huge,
when, in fact, almost no one does. Educating people about the business,
about their own level of talent, the price you pay, and the alternatives to
playing - coaching, managing, the business side - all that is
do-able. To pick two guys at random, Billy King and Larry Brown both had
fairly modest post-college careers, yet both are making a substantial living in
basketball, Larry in his late fifties or early 60's, and King in his 30's.

It's a tricky reform to manage. We'll be interested to see how the NCAA and
the coaches proceed.