Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The problem with NCAA basketball

The events of the last week at the University of Florida are emblematic of the problems inherent in the current arrangement of the NCAA.

First, after announcing his departure and signing a contract with the NBA's Orlando Magic, Billy Donovan asked to be released from that contract to return to Florida. The Gators welcomed him back with open arms, and for most practical purposes it is as though he never left.

In returning to Gainesville, Donovan accepted a six-year contract worth $3,500,000. At the same time, Florida football coach Urban Meyer received a six-year contract for $3,250,000.

Compare this treatment of college coaches with the treatment their players receive; if a player even retains an agent, it is unlikely he will ever be allowed to play college basketball again. At best he might be allowed to return after sitting out half of a season. And don't even think about paying your players; the "student-athletes" are supposed to be grateful for their college scholarships -- scholarships they only need so they can play basketball for a few years before entering the NBA.

Coming soon: How to fix basketball.

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