Blame the NBA, not college basketball, for recent NCAA scandals


Aaron Tolentino

Aaron Tolentino, Sports editor

The FBI’s investigation into NCAA men’s basketball has resulted in punishments for coaches who bribed athletes to attend and play for their respective universities.

The investigation may have focused on how corrupt the NCAA is, but the NBA is actually responsible for all this mess.

It was the NBA that implemented the one-and-done rule in 2005 to prevent high school players from declaring for the draft, forcing them to go to college for a year first.

So you’re telling me that these young men, straight out of high school, are able to join the military and die for this country but not be able to try out for the NBA?

The operative word is try.

The fact of the matter is every year there are a handful of high school players who are ready for the NBA, not necessarily to be stars or immediate rotation players, but be on a roster and get paid.

The amount of money the NCAA rakes in, when NBA-ready players fill college arenas countrywide and networks pay billions of dollars to broadcast March Madness, is astronomical for an “amateur” league.

According to the NCAA’s website, they have a 14-year, $10.8 billion television deal with CBS Sports.

Are we really going to suspend student-athletes, like San Diego State forward Malik Pope, for taking a thousand dollars as pocket money for the school year?

I can guarantee you basketball stars like Pope are worth more to their respective schools than a full scholarship and whatever under the table money they are given.

Former LSU standout Ben Simmons, who is now currently in the running for NBA Rookie of the Year, made a clear statement during his lone year in school that he did not want to be there. He literally told ESPN, “the NCAA is really f—ed up… everybody’s making money but the players.”

Simmons’ premise is correct but inaccurate. His anger is directed at the wrong institution.

There’s an old saying, “a fish rots from the head down.” And in this case, all of the NCAA’s transgressions fall back to the NBA.

Ultimately, both organizations should let the players decide their own destiny.

If the kids who think they are NBA-ready want to forgo a college education, let them do it. If they make a roster, good for them. If they don’t make it, too bad for them.

To tell kids, many of whom come from impoverished backgrounds, they have to wait an entire year to potentially make millions and give their families a better life while the NCAA profits billions off their talents is immoral.