Sunday, April 22, 2018


Tom Keegan: Changes coming this week in college basketball

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during a news conference at the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during a news conference at the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 29, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


The commission charged with cleaning up college basketball has been at work for several months, and it will present its findings Wednesday to the NCAA. Before going to the trouble of rolling your eyes, let NCAA president Mark Emmert do it for you.

“I recognize everybody says this is sort of typical behavior of big organizations, right? Something goes wrong, you form a commission and then nothing happens,” Emmert said at a Final Four press conference.

That was a refreshingly human vantage point and in expressing it, Emmert basically threw a challenge at the commission to make significant recommendations and to the NCAA Division I Board of Governors to implement them.

“One of the things that’s different about this commission itself is that everybody that I asked to serve on it, after we talked with the board, they all said, 'Yeah, I’d love to do this, but only if you guys are serious,'” Emmert said.

The commission consists of 14 individuals, including chair Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, former basketball greats Grant Hill and David Robinson and former college basketball coaches Mike Montgomery and John Thompson III.

Emmert insists the commission doesn’t amount to window dressing.

“Just to be blunt about it, you don't waste Condoleezza Rice's time if you're not serious about it,” Emmert said.

But how serious? Serious enough to put in a system whereby student-athletes can cash in on their likenesses and name? Serious enough to enable college athletes to endorse products the way Olympic athletes can without surrendering their amateur status?

Emmert stopped way short of saying that, instead falling back on his opinion that athletes who want to go straight from high school to the NBA should be allowed to do so. Of course, in order for that to happen NBA owners and players would need to collectively bargain that into play, removing the one year wait.

That still wouldn’t address the 800-pound elephant in the room: College basketball is a billion-dollar industry and almost none of it goes to the players.

Emmert said there is “no interest in higher education of turning college athletes into employees that are hired and fired by universities.”

A nice compromise then, it seems, would be to allow college athletes to get compensated over-the-table by third parties, instead of the current system in which flesh peddlers cash in on their value, sometimes without their knowledge or benefit, transactions that take place in back alleys where integrity goes to die.


Suzi Marshall 2 years, 8 months ago

Rice attended the Barbara Bush funeral Saturday. Yes Big changes on the way. Plenty of speculations are out. Tom, looks like you heard aboit a couple of them...likeness and third parry deals. We will be having players with million dollar endorsement deals.

Bryce Landon 2 years, 8 months ago

Come on, Suzi, a former First Lady died this past week. Liberals like the Carters and Obamas also attended the funeral. Show some respect for the deceased, and keep your left-wing hatred and vitriol to yourself.

Al Martin 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for this Bryce. It's a concise and complete reminder to never again pay attention to a single word you ever say.

Dan Burns 2 years, 8 months ago

Bryce, if there is any intelligence mixed in that gray matter, you'll delete your post.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 2 years, 8 months ago

This is a very influential commission. However, it is strictly political and very strong publicly whereas the NCAA is not progressive. NCAA seems more old school sit on their money and tenure until retirement. Nothing will be done IMO until the NCAA changes. No amount of talking from media and coaches has done anything before. Paying players is a bad answer and will make reaching blue blood status require bribes for ordinary schools.

Joe Ross 2 years, 8 months ago

The injustice of a non-for-profit entity making countless millions of dollars off of players is morally unacceptable, especially considering they get to set the rules and make them in such a way as to deprive the revenue source of any profit sharing whatsoever. A not-for-profit!!! The role of the Universities in hypothetically treating college athletes as employees who can be hired and fired can already be construed from the current state of college athletics because the players receive a financial consideration in the form of a scholarship, and coaches can hire (recruit) them using a scholarship as leverage and fire them (not playing them indefinitely, for example, forcing a player into a disadvantageous position. Bottom line: the NCAA wants to make money using these players.

Lawrence McGlinn 2 years, 8 months ago

They can also dump players on a year-by-year basis. Lots of suspicious "transfers" out there. That's not being fired?

Jay Scott 2 years, 8 months ago

Nobody is forcing kids to play college ball. Numerous other options exist.

Lawrence McGlinn 2 years, 8 months ago

True. Let's just not pretend that the level of players KU recruits are not getting paid by someone, if not the school.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 8 months ago

"College basketball is a billion-dollar industry and almost none of it goes to the players." Such a stinking pile.

The players aren't getting as many dollars as the HC, but they get the head coach, the facilities, the trainers, the tutors, ...

This isn't even as bad as grad students and professors, owners and workers, etc. Just because they do get more directly at the next level does not make the collegiate arrangement morally unjust, or whatever other huey is being passed around. And people cheating should never be the reason to abandon rules.

Lawrence McGlinn 2 years, 8 months ago

This is really a "head-in-the-sand" kind of thing. The entire system getting players from elementary school to college drips with money. They are a commodity, and there is a market for the services that get them to the pros. According to "amateur" rules the only players "cheating" are the ones who get caught. We can try to demonize these kids (whose b-ball success actually help KU's out-of-state recruiting of ordinary students), or we can accept it if we demand a top-5 program year after year. Let's all hold our breath the next time KU recruits a top-ten player, which they are doing, I'm sure, as I write.

Dan Burns 2 years, 8 months ago

The statement is referring "literally" to money, not education or experience.

Joe Ross 2 years, 8 months ago

RE: "People cheating should never be reason to abandon rules."

I agree. But there are plenty of good reasons to change bad rules that people are cheating to get around.

David Robinett 2 years, 8 months ago

How about using that NCAA CBS money to fund scholarships for all students? Especially given that state legislatures are decreasing their funding of state colleges every year.

Dan Burns 2 years, 8 months ago

Let's add house payments for the working man or how about paying for the assisted living cost for my aunt. To quote Margaret Thatcher, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 2 years, 8 months ago

I had the pleasure of seeing David Robinson speak at a conference in California last week. He didn't speak to any potential recommendations of the committee of course, but he did speak in depth about his experiences in college and in the NBA.

His opinion was that he benefited greatly from his time in college and that even most professional athletes do as well. That being said, he thinks the conversation about this very small group of "one and done" type athletes misses the broader benefits of the existing system.

The two main revenue sports generate virtually all of the scholarship and funds needed for the 99% of college athletes that will never play professionally and that these scholarships benefit minority and impoverished student athletes the most.

There's a huge disconnect between what college athletes believe and what is reality. About 75% of D-1 basketball players think they will play professionally while only 1.2% will get drafted into the NBA. Fewer will make it though some will obviously make a living overseas. Even the majority of D-2 athletes think they will play their sport professionally!

It seemed to me that his opinion was to make it easier for the small handful of "one and done" type players to go straight to the NBA, development leagues, Europe, etc. instead of blowing up the existing system that he strongly believes benefits virtually all college athletes.

He benefited greatly from both the NBA as well as his education but believes his education was a better foundation for changing his family's long-term future than the money that professional sports can provide to a tiny fraction of athletes.

All that may just be his opinion and not reflect any committee recommendations, but he's certainly a pretty incredible guy who's leveraged his education and NBA success into a post NBA career with a passion to provide better educational opportunities to impoverished communities through his IDEA Carver academies.

Joe Black 2 years, 8 months ago

Thank you for adding "reason" to this discussion. This isn't just an issue of the players getting what is "theirs". David Robinson is a intelligent individual that has the ability through experience and first hand knowledge to address the actual issue and not the sensationalized agenda of the media.

Chris DeWeese 2 years, 8 months ago

Personally, I still like the idea of amateur sports. I like the idea of student-athletes playing with passion for their school. I like the idea of student-athletes sticking around and earning their degree, which nobody can take away. I understand that college isn't for everyone, so I'm fine with 18-year-old high school graduates turning pro if they can. If they go to college, I think they should stick around. I don't think they should get paid.

Lawrence McGlinn 2 years, 8 months ago

I see your football-helmet icon, which is appropriate because no one is going to pay our football players.

John Brazelton 2 years, 8 months ago

In the age of high student debt, getting a 4 or 5 year scholarship, housing, academic support, travel to great places like Europe, top-notch training facilities and medical staff is not a bad deal for most athletes. It's the one and done type of players that are blowing up the system. Let the pro teams take care of those types of players. That also means dealing with OAD's that can't deal with the pro systems because they aren't good enough athletically, mentally can't handle the stress and get injuried early in their careers.

Michael Maris 2 years, 8 months ago

For NCAA Basketball purposes, the NCAA and Membership should adopt the MLB System, for graduating High School Senior's. The NBA should issue NBA Draft Evaluation Offers to the graduating High School athlete who the NBA Scouts truly projected as an NBA Level talent (ie; Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, etc......). Then, allow those individual athletes to advance directly to the NBA.

But, if their skill set is not yet viewed as NBA Level talent (and they need seasons to mature their skill set). Allow the kids to attend college (with no penalties). Once the athlete steps foot on an NCAA Campus, they're there for guaranteed 3 seasons.

If the athlete should choose the NJCAA route, then they're eligible for NBA after their 2 seasons. Yeah, there may be a lot more talent heading to the NJCAA venues. But, the elite basketball coaches are not coaching at the Junior College level.

The MLB system seems to work for NCAA, NJCAA and MLB entities. And, the majority of Collegiate Baseball players are not offered full year athletic scholarships.

It seems to me, this type of system would stop a lot of the crap that happening with the NCAA College Basketball Schools.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 8 months ago

This, to me, is the most infuriating habit of the NCAA: develop a good solution, and then don't apply it. Just like the 16-team playoff they use for lower divisions of football, they aren't smart enough to apply the baseball rule to basketball.

And, I've said it a hundred times, this is not the NBA's fault. The NCAA could easily just amend the rule right now. The NBA would respond and open up the draft to high schoolers, or they'd go overseas, or they'd burn a scholarship for three years. The NCAA can easily fix this problem. In fact, just as with the playoff, they already have.

Mike Bennett 2 years, 8 months ago

It's not up to the NCAA to develop the system. The NBA has to do it. MLB set up their system, not the NCAA.

Michael Maris 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I believe that the NBA amended their rules to keep High School kids from declaring for the NBA Draft (and force the kids to play 1 season of collegiate basketball, as long as the athletes attained the age of 19 by the time of the NBA Draft). So, I believe that it's the NBA that needs to amend their policy (instead of the NCAA).

Mike Riches 2 years, 8 months ago

Emmert can talk about the OAD rule all he wants (and will because it's a popular issue for him to hide behind) but this is not just a OAD problem. If the NBA got rid of the OAD rule tomorrow, the problems would in large part still exist unless there is massive reform in college athletics. People with agendas (be it shoe companies, agents, or flesh peddlers, to borrow Tom's term) would still target the top remaining talent. I don't like the OAD rule, I think it's caused its share of problems, but this problem is so much deeper than OAD.

Mike Bennett 2 years, 8 months ago

I don't see a real solution. Player gets $10K for endorsing Nike. Handler offers him another $10K under the table for future signing rights, player is going to take it. Only way to eliminate this issue is a pay for all free for all.

Jay Scott 2 years, 8 months ago

The NCAA can fix most of this by letting players continue to play after they're drafted. They do it with hockey. The NCAA controls who plays college ball, not the NBA. If the NCAA had the stones to force the NBA's hand much of this would end.

Robert Brock 2 years, 8 months ago

The NBAPA owns and controls the Basketball World. They are the Puppet Masters.

Kent Richardson 2 years, 8 months ago

The NBAPA's only function is to represent their members. Just like the LJW's only function is to sell newspapers and the various forms of media they make revenue from.

John Joseph Gorski 2 years, 8 months ago

I think players should get paid so they can afford things like books for class, housing and food. They should get paid so they can afford to go to places like Hawaii, Puerto Rico or maybe even to play games over seas in Europe. Maybe Adidas and Nike should give the players free clothes and shoes to wear so they can represent he brand. Ya know the university should also offer free healthcare to athletes so they don't need to go to the free clinic all the time!!!

Players right now with what they get free probably make 50K-60K+ If they do decide to pay players they need to make them buy their tickets to road games, pay rent in the super fancy dorms they get and pay for their own books, classes and healthcare. People for get about the amount of money colleges spend on players every year to allow them to experience things regular students don't get to experience.

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