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It's High-Minded Wednesday!

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Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Al Gore's Folly is just chock full of high-minded idealism today.  After my morning perusal, I had an urge to join the Peace Corps -- but real life intruded.  Today is my 20th wedding anniversary, and my wife suggested I write a blog post instead of tramping off to sub-Saharan Africa.

In a redux of "The Story That Just Won't Die", Sports Illustrated awards UK the "Alex Rodriguez Opt-Out Award".  I think enough pixels have been darkened over this subject, both by me and others.

Even so, I would like to point you to John Clay's blog post of yesterday, where you can see what some readers had to say about his article on the subject.

Dick "Hoops" Weiss lets us in on a somewhat surprising fact -- the only players showing up at the NBA pre-draft camp this year for anything other than a physical are likely second rounders or fringe first rounders trying to solidify their position.  I think the new NBA rule forbidding private team workouts prior to the NBA pre-draft camp has not had the desired effect.

Now, we get to the high-minded stuff.

The NCAA Hoops Today blog has a new post up, including a link to this article about the NCAA looking into academic issues surrounding men's basketball.  It seems the NCAA is shocked ... shocked! ... to discover that almost half of Division I men's basketball programs are in jeopardy of loosing scholarships and suffering other sanctions due to low APR scores.

As NCAA Hoops implies, standing idly by and watching revenue suffer due to lost scholarships and other sanctions just isn't an option.  But quite honestly, the APR system needs some adjustment for obvious silliness -- for example, if a team is penalized for 10% of its scholarships, that often works out to something like 1.15, or 1.3.  In the world of the APR, those fractional amounts are rounded upward to the next higher whole number.  That's not how they teach it in math class, Dr. Brand.

Another thing about the APR is that it isn't really fair in the way it handles transfer students.  Transfers count as a point against a school, regardless of their academic standing.  That penalty might make sense if the player fails to graduate from any college within, say, five years of original enrollment.  But it makes no sense to me otherwise.

Anyway, the APR obviously isn't perfect, and the fact that traditionally black schools are being hit hardest by it is bound to make the whole issue a political football eventually.  Still, I think the general idea is a good one, but as always, the execution seems to be the area that needs work.  Hopefully, the NCAA can iron out the inconsistencies in the APR and turn it into something that helps schools improve graduation rates of student athletes -- either by forcing them to recruit better students, or forcing them to pay more attention to academic progress in general.

Finally this morning, the Tampa Tribune has this article on college coaches going to the NBA, obviously with an eye toward Billy Donovan's current situation at Florida.  The article is basically a regurgitation of some of the "college star to NBA flop" cautionary tales we all know and love, but the interesting part is Rick Pitino's comments.  I particularly liked this one:
"I know there's a part of him that's curious about coaching in the NBA," Pitino said. "He's like me. He's like the rest of us.

"If it comes down to it, if he wants my suggestions, I'll tell him straight-up. I think I made a mistake."

I never get tired of hearing Pitino say this.  Never.  If he wrote it down in his own blood every day for the rest of his life, I would never get tired of reading it.

Update [2007-5-30 16:45:52 by Truzenzuzex]:  I'm not much of a poll stirrer-upper, but this one involves Ashley Judd and requires the intervention of the Big Blue Nation to save her honor.  Thanks to reader EKO for bringing this to our attention.

Thorns is officially a Hokie.  Pardon me while I lament the loss of a 2-star 5'10" point guard we didn't need ... OK, I'm over it.