The NBA Draft

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: June 27, 2005

NBA LogoEl CERRITO,CA— Well its another year and the pro football draft last month and basketball draft this week. Once again many more students will be matriculating from the college life style to a pro career, giving these talented young people their first chance of a career. While other students on campus acquire a part-time job and earn wages attending school, these student athletes cannot. It is against (NCAA) National Collegiate Athletic Association by-laws. Are we sending the wrong messages to these talented young adults? The answer is in the many undergrads that are now in the professional leagues without ever entering the door of college. So many of these young adults leave school early, Lebron James, Carmillio Anthony, Dwayne Wade, the list continues.

Acquiring an education should be on the top of the list for these young people. America, instead, has given them all the signs that making money is more important then anything else.

How can the NCAA allow this (drop out of college and enter into sports world) to continue? The NCAA permits coaches having contracts with shoe companies, hat companies, and uniform companies; millions are given to these coaches, but not one dime goes to the individuals doing most of the work on the field, on the floor, or in the pool. The Student-Athlete.

Universities have their names in lights and Television cameras; universities across this land make millions on television contracts, but college athletes do not see a dime of that money.

In the meantime, most of these college student athletes put themselves on the line every day or night for these universities. Some of these young athletes get injured and never reaching their dreams. Do these athletes receive rewards? Most of these universities acquire multiple television contracts, free sports equipment, and money from companies in lieu of advertising at their games. Do they share this with their student athletes? Most universities will continue making money long after these student athletes leave their perspective schools.

Universities across this land recruit students from all over America–poor, rich, black, and white to play for their colors.

These Universities receive millions of dollars per weekend while the student-athlete receives nothing but the possibility of a pro career. For every ten student-athlete, only one will make the professional grade. The average life of any professional athlete is about five years, depending on the sport.

Many student-athletes come from the south or from the inner city and cannot afford to go to the movies on weekends. Many cannot take their girlfriends out on a date. Some of them can’t even buy a Sunday dinner, when most college campus dining halls are closed. They can’t buy new shoes, new pants, or new shirts.

While these college campuses build new arenas; new baseball parks, new track and field stadiums, and new Olympic style swimming pools. These universities improve their sports programs better year by year.

Is this fair or equal treatment of all students on college campuses? This can create social-moral problems for the student athlete and the university.

A classic example of this happened at SIU (Southern Ill. Univ. at Carbondale) years ago. A very famous player wanted to work and needed to work because he had a family to support. He found a job a few miles off campus but it required a car to get to his job. The coach loaned him a car to travel to work and get to basketball practice. The NCAA rules committee slapped a three-year probation on SIU, after a lengthy investigation found the coach and student guilty. The university could not participate in the MVC League Championship. A three-year suspension was placed on SIU. The coach just wanted to help his best student-athlete and wanted to keep his best player safe.

The Salukis suffered through three very bad years of basketball, but the program continued. The fans watched average basketball players; Saluki basketball fans lost interest in the team. The school lost revenue and the ability to attract high school athletes in the immediate area. The Salukis went from first place to last place. High school players did not want to attend Southern Ill. Univ.

Many players transferred out of the SIU basketball program to other schools–schools that would be eligible for the NCAA tourney. SIU recovered, but the student athletes that played during that troubled time lost their chances to become a pro. None of those students made the conference all-star team. Most of that team will never be remembered. This is not fair for those players who played hard as the other players before them? These players paid the penalty for deeds portrayed by others years earlier.

The Southern Ill. University basketball program is healthy now winning two Missouri Valley Conference Championships the last three years, participating in the Sweet 16 twice.

The Bay Area can be another example, ten years ago a certain player wanted the coach fired; the player got his wishes. The team’s assistant became the coach with one stipulation–you must put this program back on the national map no matter what the cost. This coach followed the school’s instructions. This university got its wishes and everybody across the land knew about this program and wanted to come to sunny Northern California. The coach started recruiting players with the offer of NCAA tourney apperices. Some promises were attached to the new recruits; promises that were against the NCAA’s recruitment rules. The university’s winning percentages went up, Bay Area basketball fans started attending games.

The NCAA rules committee got word of this indiscretion, and the coach was released from his contract. The university, tried to avoid any other misconduct charges, policed itself, and the university’s program was put on probation for three years.

The lawbreakers never went through three years of bad basketball; many players transferred out of the program to play at other schools that could go to the NCAA tourney. This problem has to be fixed before the NCAA can continue. This year the Baylor Bears will go on probation for misconduct two years ago. Current Baylor University freshman and sophomores will never get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament if the stay at the Texas school. Players have already begun to transfer out of Baylor University.

Most of these gifted student athletes have only three or four years to show off their God-given talents. So why complain or get upset when these students leave college early for a pro career? Why do we criticize them for leaving early? Hey, the universities receive all the benefits while the student athletes work hard, playing their sport and study.

If the (NCAA) truly wanted to stop alumni and sports agents breaking the rules with the under the table monies and agent signing students. If the NCAA truly wanted schools to stop trying to undermined the current rules, the NCAA should modernize its own rules. The NCAA and the universities will have to assist student athletes with stipends to help students through four years of college.

These student athletes no longer want to play for free, and they no longer want to wait until their senior year to go to the pros.

So I asked the NCAA, what are they going to do to make the student in athletes mean something?