By Ken Reed
Kentucky’s John Calipari takes a lot of heat for recruiting one-and-done players that come to campus for a semester of basket-weaving classes and then go pro. However, conservative Duke University, and its basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, might be the new masters of the rent-a-high-school player (please don’t call them “student-athletes”).
Duke won the national championship this spring and three of their freshman have bolted for the NBA after one season, Jahil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones.
So, what does Coach K do? He goes after a high school junior to replace Jones and convinces him to “reclassify” as a senior. Derryck Thornton started the year as a junior at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas and will end it as a senior. How? Due to a technicality (Way back when, Thornton started school as a member of the class of 2015, which means he can reclassify himself from the 2016 class back to the 2015 class). Coach K thinks Thornton’s good enough to play right away. Whether he’s ready to handle the academic rigors of Duke is another question. Moreover, I’m not sure if asking a kid to give up his senior season is in the best interests of the kid. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it’s more in the best interests of Coach K.
Meanwhile, as Pat Forde ably points out in a piece for Yahoo! Sports, NCAA officials, college athletic administrators and coaches are more concerned with a rule that allows athletes that have graduated to transfer to another school and play immediately as a graduate student, if they still have eligibility left. Coaches and administrators don’t like the idea of losing control over players. They don’t like athletes having any choices. They don’t want them to have the freedom to seek another opportunity, as they themselves can do when another job offer falls on their desk.
The NCAA has said the possibility of amending the graduate transfer rule is near the top of the list of issues facing college sports. Really? How about concussions and the lack of consistent return-to-play guidelines? How about the economic injustice of capping athletes’ compensation at tuition, room and board while everyone else involved with college sports gets wealthy off those athletes? No, the NCAA wants to focus on gaining even more control of the athletes on their sports plantation.
Dear NCAA, going after athlete’s who have already earned a college degree, while allowing Coach K to court high school juniors who likely could be leaving campus after a single season is absurd. The “one-and-done” trend is what needs to be addressed, not the graduate transfer rule.
“This is not breaking news, but the one-and-done basketball matriculation from the NCAA to the NBA is the bigger academic sham,” wrote Forde. “Passing 12 credit hours of Intro to Breathing, not declaring a major and not entering into an advanced curriculum before leaving school is a clear refutation of the academic mission.”
Indeed, and the sham that is Big-Time College Sports marches on.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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