Oh Chicken Little,
Your plight has been well documented. And not just by those listening to Colin Hay while reviewing Zach Braff's movie career. But by those who comment on the situation of the college basketball world.
As you know, Mr Little, the NBA draft is just hours away. And with it come those who choose to scream out loud that the college game is slowly being destroyed. Today in USA Today there was a long article about the game suffering from the "One and done" rule in college basketball. And its been a frequent topic on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption." So let me try to calm down all the Henny Penny's out there.
One big thing should be clarified. Its an NBA rule, not an NCAA rule. If you have complaints, take it up with David Stern, not Myles Brand.
But truly, how terrible is it to the game of college hoops? Was it such a hideous thing to watch Greg Oden fight through Big Ten play, and march his way (injured as he was) to the national title game in 2007? Was it so horrible to follow the wizardry of Derrick Rose as he finessed his way to the National title game in 2008?
I think it was pretty great. I think it makes me wonder what it would have been like if we got to see Dwight Howard play for a year, or what that kid LeBron would have looked like wearing Dukie blue. Even if it was just for one season.
However, speaking of Rose, the best argument against the "one and done" is the concern about school. And the way this system allows a student to really only attend college classes for their first semester. Because their second semester grades come out after they've played in the NCAA tournament, once they've already declared for the draft. That's a solid point. Ya'd rather not cheapen the importance or value of a college education.
But to me that's even more of a reason not to get rid of the NBA rule, but to extend it to 2 years. Then you make sure that the star student-athlete takes advantage of the tutors that are provided for them. You allow the college game to develop its players longer. And that development makes the college game more enjoyable, which gets the players more prepared and mature, which makes the NBA a better product. Everybody wins that way.
But more than anything lets look at the way the system is set up right now. Even if none of my points are accurate, and everything about the one-and-done is bad ... how much does this really affect people? How many people truly are impacted by the one-and-done situation?
Last year the draft had 11 players chosen that played just one year in college (Derrick Rose, Michael Beasely, OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Eric Gordon, Jerryd Bayless, Anthony Randolph, J.J Hickson, Kosta Koufos, Donte Greene, and in the 2nd round DeAndre Jordan). That may seem like a lot... but there are 343 Division 1 college basketball teams. We're talking about 11 teams that lost a player to the draft from leaving after one year. (Just so ya know that wasn't a fluke, in 2007 there were only 8 such players in the draft) Let's not pretend that this is an epidemic. This only affects a small handful of players and teams. It is a minor problem, not a major one.
So, Mr. Little, though you have followers, I hope you rest assured that you're situation is equally as dire as college basketball's. Though things may not be perfect, it's probably more likely that what's falling down is something much more minor -- an acorn, perhaps; but not the sky.
Mike Hall is an anchor at the Big Ten Network. His highly entertaining video blog "My Call with Mike Hall" is located here. Previously for Sports Pros(e), Mike wrote an open letter defending the current BCS bowl system. Then in May, he questioned the NBA's post-time out policy. Follow him on Twitter @BTNMikeHall.