RENT-A-CENTER, KY – It just did not feel like true college basketball. While the four number one seeds in the March Madness did feature some great student-athletes, there were also quite a few rental ballers.
Before the ink has evened dried on the newspapers headlining the exciting final between Duke and Wisconsin, three-pointers are being tossed up regarding these short-term leased players – the Rental Ballers. Coach Cal and his mercenary gang at Kentucky are the favorite team to hate, due to their candidness about visiting Lexington for a year (maybe two) before that NBA train chugs into town.
There remains just a handful of programs that remain steadfast on recruiting true student athletes who want to graduate college before entering the professional leagues. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has been vilified for his frustrated candor with the “rent-a-player” sentiments. I personally agree with him.
Academics on all these campuses are repulsed by coaches raking in the dough thrown their way – with zero regard for any educational standards. It’s a “Win, baby and do it now,” way of thinking. And it doesn’t help that the NCAA cronies stockpile as much lettuce as Jay Z and Beyoncé, so they are not going to rock the boat any time soon.
We cannot blame the players: The NBA establishing the Minimum Age Requirement back in 2005, was obviously in conjunction with the NCAA’s concern over rolling out a mediocre March Madness, void of the best ballers, who were taking their talents to the NBA.
Wrestling with the morality of it all, David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have both lobbied to raise the age to twenty. This is merely a relational move to placate their minor league owners (colleges) and solves nothing. Is it fair to block someone of legal age from taking advantage of opportunities afforded them? Many have zero interest in a college education. Let them take their shot and if it does not work out? Well, that’s life!
Who is responsible in saving our youth? Maybe we should ask ESPN and other networks that feel compelled to televise high school games and college commitment announcements. The lure of stardom has always preyed on the less affluent and educated. Media sells and reaching for the cheese will kill some mice (sorry, Cheesy Bruin). How about targeting those high schools that drag these kids through in order to feed the high-powered programs, regardless of whether they can read or not?! Follow the money and you’ll find millions filtering to those Prep Schools whose sole mission is to get these players to the accepted base test scores and into a university.
Pay Them! What would that accomplish? The majority of athletes on our campuses will never sniff a professional contract. Would paying the delusional and misguided solve the problem? HELL NO! Adjusting the rules to allow a stipend to buy necessity items, along with relaxing penalties if a student athlete is able to sell their autograph, would be a step in the right direction. Free enterprise is what we are all fighting for.
This is a volatile subject and we at MTM agree to disagree on what’s right and what’s wrong. Our vocational schools are full of kids who aspire to forego college to start earning a living. I believe that we should not block a wide-eyed athlete from making their own choice.
And finally, in case you had any doubt, Coach K is indeed a Pimp!
Chime in with your opinions below and come back tomorrow for another dose of Sports Punditry.
P.s… Let’s Go Rangers! Lou Lamoriello can suck an egg and fire himself!
-And as for baseball, the Mets can’t score and the Yankees out-uglied Toronto. Both are .500, which is where they will likely be at the season’s end. My Tigers are looking for a Minny sweep.