In the most recent development of the FBI’s College Basketball witch hunt, such powerhouses as Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, and North Carolina have been identified as having broken recruiting violations. And I’m sorry, but I truly, sincerely, genuinely, do not care. I cannot find it in myself to be outraged by the “immoral” schools listed as Division 1A’s newest “criminals.” I use quotation marks because, truly, calling these programs “criminals” is laughable. College basketball programs act in a heavily-regulated market about which they (probably) have full information as to which other programs are paying for players, the amount they’re paying, and for whom they’re paying. Each program performs the necessary actions to recruit the guys it needs to remain competitive in the college basketball landscape. This is why we see the same group of teams dominate year-in and year-out, and this is why it’s no surprise that the five most prestigious names in Division 1A are included in today’s report.
The question we must ask is, is the current system problematic? Well, in terms of college basketball as a product, hell no. Not a shot. What do we really want out of college basketball? We want to enjoy March Madness. And do we want Butler and Purdue in Final Fours? I don’t. I want Kentucky. I want Duke. I want UNC. I want Michigan State. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a UK fan, but I can separate from my loyalties to pull for dominance, TV ratings, and generally speaking, the sport of college basketball. Simply put, when the blue bloods win, the NCAA wins.
Now, NCAA President Mark Emmert is thus quoted:
“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America… people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules.”
Alright, Mark. You know who may actually have no place in college sports in America? The NCAA. The NCAA does not understand what college basketball is right now. The top recruits are guys who are required to be in college due to a one-and-done rule which not only limits economic freedom, but also dissolves fan loyalties (the latter of which I don’t intend to discuss, for now). So, here’s what I have to say: get rid of the one-and-done rule, let colleges pay players, or do both. There’s no conceivable reason to force an 18-year old who could be earning millions to go to a college to which he has no personal ties or desire to attend. So, NCAA, get with the program (in more ways than one). In terms of television ratings, college basketball is in the midst of some of its historically strongest years—it is well-documented. Does the imposition of bans on your five defining programs–not to mention Villanova and Virginia, which currently sit atop the CBB rankings and which the FBI has also named in its report– feel like the right call? Yeah, probably not.
In the words of renowned savage Walter White, maybe the NCAA’s best course would be to tread lightly. At least for now. But as Mark Emmert stated, there are “systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now.” And I fully agree. The “failures” are the following: the one-and-done rule, and the regulations on players’ pay. Thus for a long-term solution, there are only two real options: repeal one-and-done and let the top players bypass college, or let the blue bloods assert their dominance by paying for top-tier players, and thereby continue their dominance by reaching Final Fours.
-Admin Tam (@tomhall2323)