Friday, May 16, 2008

Making "One & Done" Meaningful

The NBA introduced "One & Done" to make sure high school hoops prodigies play one year of college ball prior to turning pro. Hmmm. To ensure youth are properly educated? To make sure all their players can drink when they go to strip clubs? To make sure colleges continue to reap the millions generated by their hoops team?

This is a case of a well intended but horribly executed intervention. Yep, intervention was needed, but the current "One & Done" solution solves nothing -- except keeping elite colleges rolling in dough. There's more to accomplish than that.

Even the infamous Hall-of-Fame win-at-all-costs Bobby Knight rails against the structure of "One & Done" as players without academic abilities are getting free rides to DI schools, taking 6 credits of independent phys ed, failing all of them, getting in their year of hoops, and going pro ... and in the process, making a mockery of the entire situation.

That certainly is a jaded view of "One & Done", but it is too familiar a pattern ...

Here's what I'd do.

I'd evolve the arbitrary "One & Done" by expanding the job description requirements for an NBA/NFL/MLB/Etc player job to include "a two-year Associates' Degree in Pre-Professional Sports or a Bachelors' Degree in any field with a minor in Pre-Professional Sports." Each DI school would offer the programs in Pre-Professional Sports: made up of practical classes in public speaking, money management, human sexuality, basic injury care, coaching strategies, the sociology of leaches and possees, etc. Players would have to pass to play ...

This would send all pro-wannabees to college for a meaningful program with an actual and applicable credential. The colleges would still reap the millions for a couple years -- and the league wouldn't have to babysit uneducated teenagers. For the kids, it would mean two years of opportunity to learn and mature while earning a relevant credential to open the door to their professional dream job ... just like the rest of the professional world.

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