The Pac-12 Conference presidents and chancellors put forth a cockamamie idea last week in an attempt to curtail the number of 'one-and-done' players in college basketball.
In a letter sent to their peers in the other Big Five conferences listing 10 'core objectives' the Pac-12 believes are the most important changes to be made if the five power conferences are given more autonomy later this year, the presidents suggested making freshmen ineligible in men's basketball. Here is how they framed it as the seventh item on their list:
7. Address the "one and done" phenomenon in men's basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men's basketball.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar had the good sense to honestly assess the ignorance of the approach the presidents are advocating when he was asked about it during an interview with KJR Radio in Seattle on Thursday.
“That rule if it was in place this past year, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle, those guys would sit out and practice everyday," Romar was quoted from the interview by the Seattle Times. "The NBA guys come and watch practice and then they draft them anyway after their freshman year without playing a game. That’s what I think would happen.
“Back when you could come out of high school they were drafting kids before they practiced in college. They drafted them straight out of high school so that’s not going to prevent them from still coming out after a year.”
Romar didn't even address the other glaring problem with this idea. Talk about painting with a broad brush, the presidents are proposing a change that would affect hundreds of freshman across the five power conferences each year when the issue at hand is really only relevant to a dozen or so freshmen each year. In some years, it's even less.
This isn't a solution at all because it's completely unrealistic and out of touch with the realities some of these recruits are facing. If this proposal was adopted, the cream of the crop each year would have no incentive to go to college at all first and foremost because they would be unlikely to develop much as players by simply participating in practices.
Coaches like Romar aren't going to spend a ton of time working to develop a guy who can't play for them and likely won't be around next year anyway. They simply can't afford to. They're trying to win games. Jobs are on the line.
The elite one-and-done players would be far more likely to simply sign with another program outside the power conferences or spend a year overseas making money that would benefit their families and working on their game than going to college, attending classes and riding the bench.
And what would be the motivation for these players to perform in the classroom and stay eligible when they're already planning not to be in college in a year? Look out for falling APR scores.
Each year there are players who are led to believe they're only going to spend a year in college before heading to the NBA only to find out they're not quite ready once they face a season of college competititon. Some of these guys eventually end up getting two, three or even four years of college under their belts before finally entering the draft. Those players would never make it to college now at all if they listened to the wrong voices misjudging their talent as seniors in high school.
It's hard to fathom such a smart group of people came up with such a misguided proposal. Thankfully, it's highly unlikely their peers in the other power conferences will think much of it.
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