The Big Blue Daily Mail -- Who is to Blame for Cheating?

We have seen, lately, many assaults on the "one-and-done" rule currently provided for by the NBA.  Essentially, the rule requires a player to do something else with himself after high school, until they turn at least 19 years old.

But I don't want to debate the goodness or badness of the NBA rule -- I think it is unquestionably bad.  What I want to debate is the allegation made by some that the one-and-done rule is responsible for cheating, or entices players to cheat.

The rule by the NBA to require a player to be 19 and one year removed from high school is absurd, but there are those who blame the rule on the rash of academic and other cheating scandals that have recently emerged, like the O.J. Mayo scandal at USC which is the apparent object lesson in how a college coach like Tim Floyd can ruin his career by doing the galactically, obviously stupid. 

Then there is the whole Memphis scandal, in which a player, alleged to be one-and-done player Derrick Rose.  Whoever it is, that player is suspected of deciding that taking the SAT test himself isn't really what "one-and-done" is all about -- that would be something for lesser athletes who aren't capable of a direct jump to the NBA and just forced to wait out a year by an arbitrary rule.

But is the "one-and-done" rule really to blame for all this misbehavior?  Can something so simple as an age limitation be a justifiable reason to commit academic fraud and other forms of rule-breaking?  Is the rule to blame, are the players to blame, is the "system" to blame, or all of the above?

Andy Katz of ESPN is on record as against the rule.  His arguments essentially are:

  • The kids don't want to be in school;
  • The school should not want players for just one year;
  • The rule creates scandals by enticing players to cheat.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo.com is one of the most vehement critics of the "one-and-done" rule.  In addition to the above points, Wetzel argues that:

  • NCAA basketball's amateurism rules are "outdated and hypocritical.";
  • The college entrance exams are arbitrary and unfair;
  • It's all about the money;
  • The whole process plays to stereotypes of poor, black basketball players;
  • There is no statistical evidence that players are better after a year in college;
  • You can't blame the players for cheating a rigged system;
  • It's bad for schools because the "one-and-done" athletes take only one semester seriously -- the first one, in order to remain eligible.  They often blow off the second and hurt the school in the APR.

Meanwhile, the arguments that the system is not responsible for the current state of NCAA basketball are largely encapsulated in this article in USA Today:

  • Cheating has always happened in NCAA basketball, and it would happen just as often with or without the rule.  In other words, it isn't just the "one-and-dones" who do it, and he is right;
  • Colleges are just as responsible for cheating as the players.  They are the ones who arrange payments, allow coaches to work outside the rules, and point fingers everywhere but at themselves when things go bad;
  • A year in college is better than no college from a life standpoint;
  • Mayo, if found to have taken money, would be the first one to be caught doing so since the institution of the rule;
  • It is good for the college game to have players like Kevin Durant, even for only one year;
  • It gives the NBA an opportunity to see a player more before making a financial investment;
  • It's impact on colleges is negligible, and it benefits the player (and NBA) more than the college.

Finally, we had this piece the other day by John Clay, who gets the whole thing right.  Clay points out that all these debacles are not the NBA's problem.  They aren't, at least, not to a great extent.  They may take a marketing hit if Derrick Rose is actually exposed as a cheater, or O.J. Mayo is exposed as a greedy wheeler-dealer trying to wring cash out of a system that isn't supposed to provide any rather than simply waiting another year for his millions.

Jay Bilas said it best, as quoted in Clay's article, when he said in a recent article on ESPN.com that "No NBA rule encourages anyone to change grades or cheat on tests."  I have seen many apologists for the players come up with faux arguments, as we see to some extent in Wetzel's column above, that they are just gaming a corrupt system.  That's not true at all.  You don't have to agree with the rules to follow them.  High school players actually have options like never before.  They can go to the NBADL for a year, go to a junior college for a year, play in Europe or other overseas destination.  Brandon Jennings is likely to demonstrate, for good and all (as if there were ever really any doubt) that if you are a lottery pick coming out of high school, you will be a lottery pick one year later, even if you hurt your standing in the process.

Rose could have just taken a year off and worked on his body and game in the gym with a trainer.  I'm sure he could have hired the most expensive one in America on contingency, and paid absolutely zero until after the draft.  Forget college, there are tons of options available to players who have the talent to be "one and done."  Want to send the NBA a message?  Don't play on TV after high school.  Make them have to send scouts after you, or try to keep track of what you are doing -- trust me, they will.  Take a year off to get your affairs in order, anything -- you don't have to abide by amateur rules.  Sign with an agent and let him fix you up.  Join the peace corps or volunteer for community service and show you are about more than just money.  The list is endless.

The bottom line is, there are tons of things these players could be doing other than obtaining stand-ins to defraud colleges on their entrance exams and still be picked high in the NBA draft, or selling themselves to the highest ethics-challenged college coach -- tons of ethical, helpful, useful things that they could do with 12 months other than demonstrating a complete disregard for the rules in the name of disagreeing with them.  But for some reason, we blame the rules rather than the rule-breakers.  Robin Hood strikes again.

Would it be better if we adopted the college baseball rule that allows high schoolers to be drafted, but requires them to stay in school for three years if they decide to go to school?  Yes.  Would it be better just to let high schoolers in, period?  Yes.  Would two years be better than one?  Probably.  But whether or not those things come to fruition, blaming the NBA's rule for colleges paying greedy players, and academic ne'er-do-wells too lazy or disinterested in school cheating on college entrance exams is not logically or ethically defensible.

Now, for the news:

UK Basketball News

  • Media needs to regain integrity
    Scout.com's Keith Bays takes Jerry Tipton to task in this editorial. Bays is certainly right, but he is right in a highly technical way. Yes, Mumme and Sutton both resigned, but had they refused to do so, they would have been fired. "Resigned under pressure" is the official way of putting such a parting of ways. Tipton should have gotten that part right, no doubt. It is common -- how many times have we seen sports writers tell us that UK fired Tubby Smith? Still, I'm not sure it merits the dressing-down that Bays gives him.

UK Football News

  • Heh.
    Very funny. Must read.

Other UK Sports News

NCAA Sports News

  • Coach K Considering a Return to Team USA Sideline
    Rush The Court considers Calipari a good choice for leading Team USA the next time around, along with Traitor Rick, Tom Izzo, Jim Boeheim and others.

    Personally, I would rather Calipari focus on UK basketball for now. Five years from now, maybe this would be a good idea for him. I think Krzyzewski did a fine job last time and I would certainly not mind him taking the spot again.

  • After Floyd, USC's Top 5 Candidates.
    Fanhouse has a list for USC. It's pretty much what you would expect, except no Jeff Van Gundy. Mike Davis is an interesting addition, although I can't imagine him taking the job. I'm thinking he is hoping for a shot at Alabama.

  • Floyd's action speaks volumes.
    I'll await the formal charges, but I do have to admit that what I have read so far looks really bad for Tim Floyd.

  • Scoffing at the NCAA rule changes.
    Maize n Brew Dave does it so I don't have to.

  • NCAA Basketball: Rule change is foul
    Lew Wright laments the latest NCAA idiocy -- imaginary lines. Imagine that!

  • Tim Floyd's departure as the Southern California men's basketball coach raises questions - ESPN
    Andy Katz has a number of questions concerning Tim Floyd's departure.

  • One-and-done Mayo costs Floyd reputation, job; coaches beware
    What's amazing to me is who Parrish does not mention in this article. See if you can figure out who that may be. I find it very interesting, and noteworthy, that Calipari was never really associated strongly with recruiting Mayo, nor Stephenson, nor Renardo Sydney. I wonder why? Actually, I think I know.

  • USC basketball coach Floyd submits his resignation
    Some interesting speculation about who might replace Tim Floyd. Obviously, the leading candidate aught to be Jamie Dixon, but I don't see it. Dixon has nothing really to gain by going from one football program to another, and even though LA is a higher profile place, I just don't see a Howland/Dixon rivalry. I'm going to say it isn't gonna happen.

    Jeff Van Gundy is the most intriguing of all the names mentioned. He has no college experience that I know of, but he is a good coach and could compete with Howland for recruits. He has that NBA resume that so many of today's recruits seem to love. Would he be willing to give up a cushy broadcast job (at which he is pretty darn good, by the way) for a scandal-plagued program on probation? I don't know. Maybe. As I said, intriguing.

  • Georgia didn't hire Tim Floyd -- don't you feel better now?
    Not to really defend Tim Floyd, but don't you think we should wait for the NCAA to, I don't know, actually charge him with stuff before we convict and hang him? Just askin'.

  • Billy Gillispie To USC?
    Well, you never know. Gillispie might be a fit there. But I kind of doubt it will happen.

Other News of Interest

The Daily Schadenfreude

  • The inevitable buzz: Pitino to USC
    Bwahahaa! Was there ever any doubt? I guarantee right now there is no way Pitino takes this job. It is not worthy of him, and he knows it. No matter what you think of Louisville, they are a far, far superior basketball program to USC. Not even Syphergate could make Pitino swallow this pill.

  • A Double Standard, and a Bar of Soap
    This is just a hilarious, logically bankrupt attempt at an article. If you want to see what faux reasoning looks like, just take a look here. Without any effort at all the author goes from factual recitations to conclusions that they don't support.

  • Trojan Lambs Of Just$C*
    Bruins Nation engages in some serious schadenfreude over Tim Floyd's resignation.

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