Opinion on Changing NCAA Basketball Rules

ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan recently opined regarding 5 rules changes that he would like to see in NCAA basketball governance.  Specifically, he raised the following 5 opinions:

  • I would create a strict, low, revenues and expenditures cap
  • I would lobby for a constitutional amendment to prevent any and all further changes to the structure of the NCAA tournament
  • I would allow players to return to college basketball after the draft if they went undrafted or failed to earn a contract by a given date
  • The salary of the NCAA’s president is getting cut
  • I would force a video game company to make a really good college basketball game

One suspects that the last entry was tongue-in-cheek, but the other four seem serious.  Then again, none of them seem likely.  The major conferences are not going to agree to a spending cap and our US Constitution seems to have bigger issues than NCAA sports.  The cutting of the NCAA President’s salary is a populist measure, at best.  So what are rule changes that make sense?  The Confidential has a few.

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Louisville Headlines: May 26, 2014

In opening I would like to say thanks to all our vets on this Memorial Day.

With the academic year coming to a close the headlines are slowing down but there is still plenty to talk about. Here are a few of the top stories.

Academic; the NCAA recently released their annual Academic Progress Rate (APR). Once again the University of Louisville has excelled as 9 teams posted perfect scores. They are: mens basketball, football, mens tennis, mens and womens golf, womens lacrosse, softball, womens soccer and volleyball. They showed that student athletes can excel on the field & in the class room. Also mens basketball and womens golf are in the top 10% in their sport in the latest multi year APR which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation. They both posted perfect APR’s for the four year period from 2009-13. Overall over 100 student athletes recieved their degrees this spring, including Teddy Bridgewater who left early for the NFL draft.
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Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams Stock Falling

Few questioned the decision by Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams to forego his last two years of college basketball and enter the NBA draft.  After all, NBA draftniks had been drooling and fawning over MCW for the entire season.  The phrase “certain lottery pick” is enough to convince the Confidential that any player should turn pro.  But this one is getting ugly.

The good news for MCW is that Chad Ford has stated to Syracuse.com that scouts either “love” or “hate” MCW.  So some scouts still love him.  But others hate him?  That seems harsh… presumably they just dislike his game.  But that is bad news.

Even worse is this quote from Ford:

“I know his agent thinks that I’m insane to have him, I think right now, I have him projected outside the lottery,” Ford said. “I think Dallas is a very good possibility for him at 13 and Sacramento is a good possibility for him if Anthony Bennett is off the board. Other than that, I just haven’t identified the other teams where I think he is a fit and they’re high on him.”

The good news for MCW is that he is still likely to be a first-round pick and get guaranteed money.  If so, the decision to go pro was unquestionably a sound move.  If the flaws in his game were not corrected next year, that extra year of college would be wasted.

But it is still a shame to see someone leave school when the “potential” outweighs the “actual.”  If only the NBA and college basketball could work together to allow kids a chance to continue to develop their game in college, without making that a risky proposition from a business sense.

FSU Sets School Record – Tops for NFL Draft

This is my first post for ACC Confidential as the new contributor for the Seminoles of Florida State. I grew up in the middle of Big 10 country (Indiana), but fell in love with all things FSU during my first game at the Doak. Im looking forward to a turn around in ACC football and total domination during the basketball season.

Let’s begin…

Florida State had 11 former players drafted in this week’s NFL draft setting an all-time school record and leading all teams. 2012 Champion Alabama had 9 players drafted. The Noles got off to a fast start with three players drafted in the first round on Thursday evening and another two in the early portion of the second round accounting for 5 of the first 42 picks.

Seminoles drafted in the Top 42 picks:
EJ Manual QB 16th (Bills)
Bjoern Werner DE 24th (Colts)
Xavier Rhodes CB 25th (Vikings)
Tank Carradine DE 40th (49ers)
Menelik Wilson OT 42nd (Raiders)

Obviously the cupboard was filled with talent for the Noles last year.

Jimbo and Quarterback U?

With the selection of EJ Manual in the first round of the draft, Jimbo Fisher has solidified his reputation for developing quarterback talent. Fisher has now coached three recent quarterbacks that were drafted in the first round. In addition to Manual, Christian Ponder (2011) and JaMarcus Russell (2007)-from Fisher’s days in LSU-were drafted in the first round.

ACC All Over the 1st Round of the 2013 NFL Draft

When previewing the NFL draft, it was noted that there were numerous players with ACC connections expected to be taken in the first round.  With the first round completed, the ACC more than held its own.

  • Jonathan Cooper, a guard from North Carolina, was taken by the Arizona Cardinals at pick #7
  • In one of the true draft surprises, the Buffalo Bills selected Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel with the 16th pick.
  • Syracuse’s Justin Pugh, an offensive lineman, was taken nineteenth by the New York Giants.
  • Tyler Eifert, a tight end from Notre Dame, was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals at pick #21.
  • The Indianapolis Colts selected Florida State defensive end, Bjoern Werner with the 24th pick.
  • In a mini-run on Florida State Seminoles, the Minnesota Vikings followed up by taking cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
  • The Houston Texans selected Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins, a wide-receiver, with the 27th pick.
  • The 28th pick was North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams, a defensive tackle.

Thus, of 32 players taken, 25% have ties to the present or future of the ACC.  Even excluding Pugh and Eifert, the ACC contributed nearly 20% of the first round.  That is fine by any standard.

In case you were wondering, the SEC had 12 players drafted and the Pac-12 had 5 players drafted.  The Big XII had three players drafted.  Brigham Young, the AAC (Houston), the Mac (Central Michigan), and the Big 10 (Wisconsin) had one player drafted each.  There is no doubting the supremacy of the SEC, but the ACC has, once again, supplied players to the NFL disproportionate to its success on the field.

Notably, no players from Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Louisville, or Pittsburgh were selected in the first round either.  It is hard not to be excited about the potential for the new-look, newly-revenued ACC when it comes to football.

N-C-A-Absurdity

The college basketball season just ended.  You knew that from your bracket.  Heck, even Ned Flanders would think a bracket is too much fun to be immoral.  But the season just ended two days ago.  And guess when the deadline is for college underclassmen to decide whether to turn pro?  Next freakin’ Tuesday, according to Syracuse.com, who laid this all out for Syracuse fans wondering what CJ Fair is going to do.

This is the timeline:

  • April 8, 2013: Championship Game
  • April 10, 2013: The deadline to apply for an assessment from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee
  • April 15, 2013: The deadline to receive assessment from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee
  • April 16, 2013: NCAA Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline

That’s right.  The underclassmen in the Final Four have exactly one week to decide that they are not going to make themselves eligible for the draft.  The most important decision of their respective lives, and the NCAA gives kids as little as one week to decide.  Even worse, a kid like CJ Fair can receive his “assessment” on April 15 and get a whole 24 hours to decide.  24 hours.

An NCAA apologist might say that a kid could still decide to go pro between April 16 and April 28.  However, anyone choosing to go pro during that period would give up their NCAA eligibility.  There is no chance to return to college at that point.

It gets better.  The purpose of moving up the dates to crunch this timeline was…. get ready for this… to benefit the student-athlete.  That’s right, the NCAA is actually telling the world, with a straight face presumably, that they tightened the deadlines to help kids.  The Syracuse.com article stated as follows: “The NCAA moved this date up in 2012 ‘to help keep student-athletes focused on academics in the spring term and to give coaches a better idea of their roster for the coming year before the recruiting period is closed,’ according to the organization.”  Right.  The latter part of the sentence is true, but not the former.  This has nothing to do with helping kids.

If the NCAA cared about the players, it would allow them to go all the way through the draft, see where they are drafted, and then decide whether to come back to college.  Indeed, as long as the player did not sign a contract, why should they be deemed to have lost their amateur status?  Larry Bird was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1978.  He played for Indiana State in the 1978-1979 season.  He then went pro for the 1979-1980 season, and the rest is history.  Despite the Boston Celtics holding his rights, amateur athletics did not come to a halt.  Things worked out quite well, actually.

Surely, you say, it would be improper for any current college athlete to be drafted and stay in college, right?  Well, not if you are a baseball player.  The MLB draft is set up to allow the drafting of three categories of players:

  • High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college;
  • College players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their junior or senior years or are at least 21 years old; and
  • Junior college players, regardless of how many years of school they have completed

A high school player that is drafted, but chooses not to sign gets to go play college baseball.  The NCAA will let him play.  For a while, as the college baseball player will not be eligible again for the MLB draft until he turns 21 or completes his junior season.  So, somehow, the NCAA allows drafted, but unsigned, baseball players to compete.  It works the same way in hockey.

So, why is their one set of rules for baseball and hockey, but a much more onerous set of rules for basketball and football?  If you are an optimist, you think it is because the NCAA makes so much money with football and basketball, that they care a lot more about keeping the amateur ranks clean.  But, if you think about it, that cannot be.  If it was only about ratings and attendance, keeping the best basketball and football players around would be even more profitable.  If you are a pessimist, you might suspect racism.  Right?  The more “white” the sport, the more likely the NCAA is to allow you to be drafted and return to college nonetheless.  At the very least, with a largely African-American sport such as basketball, the NCAA is more than willing to force kids to make a decision, one that will either be smart or terrible, in one week.  Every time a basketball player leaves early, is not drafted, and is never heard from again… it is a warning sign to others that might consider leaving early.  The NCAA will gladly ruin someone’s life to protect their cash cow.  Especially when they are ruining a young African-American male’s life.  Yes, this is a pessimistic view, all right.

Hey… if you can find a rationale for having different rules for the different sports, feel free to share it.  The Confidential would love to hear why it must be different.

Whatever the reason, it is just one more example of just how absurd the NCAA is.  But you knew that already…

 

 

Tar Heels to Lose 4 or 5 Players to NBA

In an announcement that was equal parts expected and dreaded, North Carolina has announced that at least three of its players are going to make themselves eligible for the NBA Draft.  Sophomore Harrison Barnes, junior John Henson and sophomore Kendall Marshall are all entering the NBA draft.  In addition, senior center Tyler Zeller has also played his final game for the Tar Heels.  As if that were not enough, reserve freshman forward James Michael McAdoo is also considering his options.  As such, the Tar Heels will be losing 4 or 5 players to the NBA.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams provided a very classy statement:

It’s a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball.  On a very small stage, it’s a sad day for me because I won’t get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well. I really look forward to watching Harrison, John and Kendall play in the NBA.  I know they will be very successful. They have been and will always be great Tar Heels.

Do not weap for the Tar Heels, however, as they have the fifth rated incoming classAccording to ESPN, North Carolina has the top rated point guard prospect in Marcus Paige, the eighth rated power forward in Brice Johnson, the the 21st-rated small forward in J.P. Tokoto, and the 17th-rated center in Joel James.  So it is just a matter of reloading for the Tar Heels.

 

ACC Players in the Mel Kiper Preview

Mel Kiper has issued his “first look at how the 2012 NFL Draft could play out.”  See here.  The ACC is fairly well represented in this first mock-up of the draft.

Here are the ACC players included:

  • With the #7 pick, Kiper has the Jacksonville Jaguars opting for Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina.  He sees need at wide receiver and in the pass rush, with Coples fitting the bill for the latter.
  • With the #15 pick, Kiper has the Philadelphia Eagles selecting ACC defensive player of the year Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College.  The Eagles obviously need defensive help.  Might as well draft a guy who was an Eagle in college.
  • With the #21 pick, Kiper has the Cincinnati Bengals opting for another underclassman, Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (Fla.).  Kiper believes that the Bengals need an explosive compliment to Cedric Benson.
  • With the #23 pick, Kiper has the Detroit Lions selecting Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina.  There is no dispute that the Lions need defensive help to go along with that great offense.  With Suh and Fairley, the defensive line is set.
  • With the #29 pick, Kiper has the New York Giants selecting Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida St.  Kiper sees the offensive line as a need area for a team that likes to establish the run.
  • With the #32 pick, Kiper has the New England Patriots selecting Andre Branch, LB, Clemson.  Kiper anticipates a position change from defensive end to linebacker.

All in all, that is 6 ACC players out of 32.  There are likely to be plenty of familiar faces on the first night of this year’s draft.