clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NCAA Reforms Are Not That Impressive

Half-hearted if that

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Duke v Kansas
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 25: Marvin Bagley III #35 of the Duke Blue Devils attempts a shot against the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at CenturyLink Center on March 25, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Duke Blue Devils 85-81.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

We've gone over some, but not all, of the reforms the NCAA announced on Wednesday and can only call it underwhelming.

Some of the highlights are that players can return to school if they’re not drafted, that players can have a relationship with an agent and that the NCAA is moving on summer basketball, currently dominated by the AAU and apparel companies.

But all of these are half-measures. You can only return after the draft if you were invited to the NBA combine which means that only a handful of players each year would have the option and almost all of those would have either two-way offers or overseas deals. It’s meaningless.

That’s the case for the agent stuff too. Only players designated as elite - by USA Basketball - can work with an agent and only if they’re about to apply for the draft (this anticipates the end of one-and-done).

If you’re not going, the relationship has to end. Good luck on that.

And it should also be pointed out that this doesn't seem to make an allowance for international players. So to take one example, it’s not at all clear that high school senior RJ Barrett could do this since he’s Canadian although he did play high school ball in Florida.

And why the hell is USA Basketball doing this? Why not the NBA? That makes no sense.

The whole plan is basically an incentive to unethical agents and since the NCAA got into this mess partly because of unethical agents, it’s a stupid answer.

Clearly there are problems with AAU basketball. Anyone who has ever been to one of these events can all but see deals going down.

However, you can go to any nice restaurant in Los Angeles, New York or DC and see the same thing. Until the NCAA gets realistic about money in college basketball they won’t fix anything. You’d think Condoleeza Rice might have heard of prohibition. It’s the same basic issue.

In addition, the NCAA, while allowing Peach Jam and other events that take place in late June to go on, is going to try to induce kids to come to camps in August. But you can’t see them in competition and that means you can’t see their ability, their heart or their full potential. A lot of kids will be overlooked and that’s truly a shame.

There are other parts of this too. The NCAA wants to accept data from outside parties like the FBI and punishments for cheating will be increased. And there is a provision to allow players to get help to go back to school.

But what constitutes cheating? Being compensated for your abilities, when you get right down to it. If you put in computer programer or actress or entrepreneur rather than college athlete it seems vaguely insane.

Again, nothing much will change until the NCAA finally decides to deal with money. That’s really essential.

However, this whole thing reeks of committee. The NCAA’s bureacracy is a nightmare and makes it almost impossible to get anything meaningful done. The very definition of hell is a proposal making its way through NCAA committees.

Coach K has argued for a college basketball commissioner for years and this just underscores that need. We’d like to see a figure who could act quickly when needed and who could provide strong leadership. A bold and creative leader would be such a nice contrast to see.

If you're going to shop Amazon please start here and help DBR
Check out our October '17 t-shirt! || Drop us a line