One and Dumb

(1) out of stepI did not watch one game of the March Madness. Nor did I watch any college basketball games during the year.  As I noted  previously, the term college basketball at the March Madness level is an oxymoron. The players on the teams that go to the top of the heap aren’t college players. The freshman players who won the Big Tournament for Duke giving its underpaid coach, Coach K, who reported earns 9 million a year (that can’t be true, is it? Bill Belichick only gets a measly 7.5 million) another feather in his cap, have as much to do with Duke as my cousin Roger to whom if you said the word Duke would immediately think “he want’s to duke it out” and would respond, “OK – put your dukes up.

Here’s what one writer for the LA Times said: “Duke played with freshmen stars such as Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones, who are expected to bolt for the NBA.” How are they Duke University basketball players when none who went to Duke intend to graduate from it; or to stay for more than a year, perhaps two at the most? They are more akin to Minor League baseball players who are looking for a chance to join the Majors; in the case of these “college” basketball players their University is the NBA.

I don’t mind the fans cheering for one team over another. Usually there’s a little bit of green ventured on the outcome. I knew some people who could not watch a game unless they had a wager on it. They might as well be at the race track betting on trotters; (by the way did you ever notice the guys driving the carts (are they jockeys?) behind the trotters. They go by the tote board just before the start of the race to take a look at the latest odds. I’ve always put that in the same league as professional wrestling but that never detracted from the sport (is it a sport?). You learn to bet not on the best trotter but on the most devious driver.)

I do mind the universities and colleges pretending that these “one and dumbs” represent their schools. Senator McCaskill had it right when she said: “Congrats to Duke, but I was rooting for team who had stars that are actually going to college & not just doing semester tryout for NBA.”  She immediately was attacked by others and being a politician had to start apologizing for telling the truth.

Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan called them rent-a-player. The nine million dollar man responded: “Duke doesn’t rent a player. We have one of the great schools in the world, and when we recruit a young man, we recruit a young man because of three things: One, he has the academic potential to do well at Duke; two, he has the talent to do well; and three, he has great character. All the guys on my team fit that description 100 percent.”

Nice try coach. You forgot to add the greatness of the school means nothing to these guys who don’t intend to graduate from the great school so the academic potential means nothing. As for talent, of course they have that and more. But your great school is in the business of educating people not being akin to American Idol where the players are auditioning for a better position.

So the Blue Devils won. They recruited the best high school basketball players like the Yankees used to do and the Red Sox do now. But it’s not a professional team, it’s a university that is supposed to educate its students.

I don’t blame the kids who take advantage of the system. The NCAA and NBA tells them if they want future riches they have to go to a college for a year, any college will do, but its best they go to one that has a well paid coach with connections. You get to learn under him for nothing for a year and then see how much the NBA will bid for your service.

It so reeks of hypocrisy pretending that these are college kids that one has to scratch one’s head believing any alumnus or alumna or collectively alumni would fall for the scam. But they do year after year thinking these kids who are forced to attend their college have any real connection with it.

I’d suggest that no university should accept a player who will not commit to graduating from the university. If you can’t win the game with students from your school what’s the reason for having a basketball team.

The present system is also a great disservice to the “one and dumbs” because that is what those kids are. They are high school graduates who will go into life lacking a proper education. They will be rich; richer than many kings; but they will be ignorant.

If the NCAA wasn’t such a corrupt organization allowing some schools to pay their players and saying others can’t, it would impose a rule that no player can play on a team representing a college or university who does not graduate from the college. There could be some exceptions like illness or the like but it would easily eliminate the farce we see today. To put teeth into its rule, any team that wins with these ringers should forfeit all their games.

It would not diminish the sport if it were played by athletes who intended to get a college education. It might even make it better and more competitive if the season wasn’t decided by the recruiting class. The TV  networks and the NCAA need not fear a revenue loss if that is the case.

And one final thing, please, please change the final two minutes of the basketball game which often comes down to a competition of foul line shooting which is boring. Why not end the game before that two-minute period. Or, better eliminate foul shots but put in its place that the person who fouls another has to leave the game and the team fouled maintains the ball. Even putting in place some type of dunking contest where a group of judges can give points for the uniqueness of each dunk would be better than the present situation.

It’s so very dreary to watch these final time outs, foul shots, and commercials. (Was the rule put in to put more money in the pockets of the networks?) Now it takes thirty minutes (20 minutes of commercials) for the clock to run for the two minutes.

I know that will never change. TV money talks. But if the games keep getting so boring with the commercials like in the NFL I expect like myself more and more fans will walk.


4 thoughts on “One and Dumb

  1. Agree (mostly). Coach K’s reputation stemmed partly from the fact that he did more with less since Duke is a very good school academically and presumably much more picky about who got in the door. Well, we all know that isn’t true any more. Big-time college basketball is part of the entertainment industry. Bo Ryan appears to believe otherwise. Wake up, Bo.

    1. Dan:

      Agree. Coach K is a good coach. He won 4 championships doing it the right way. I’d have felt better if rather than justifying his use of the one and dumbs by telling us how good the education is at Duke (which it is) or if he didn’t say to another reporter “these kids love Duke” if he came out and said “the NBA and NCAA have set up this fraudulent system and I am bound to operate within. For me to compete at a high level I have to also use one and dumbs.”

  2. I did watch some of the games—especially the ones Wisconsin played against Kentucky and Duke. I love that team, maybe because it’s a state school and they can’t assure (at this point) big contracts with NBA, so they don’t draw the top high school players. Kaminski played 4 years and will most likely go to the NBA draft. Bo Ryan is a marvel at coaching.
    Of course, I always cheer for the underdogs. But they were good games–too bad (or good) I fell asleep towards the end of the games. Why do they start so late??

Comments are closed.