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Monday, May 2, 2016

Cats' win solidifies demise of NCAA

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

As the final buzzer sounded in Monday's NCAA championship, the sounds of victory rang all throughout Lexington.

But that sound of victory echoed throughout the nation sounded much more like the agonizing death of a once beloved sport.

That's right.

John Calipari's squad has ultimately secured the death of what was a beloved sport.

His "young" Wildcat team seemed like it was going to make history, and in a way it did.

But in true Judas Iscariot fashion, Calipari has undermined the very term "student-athlete" and what it means to become a collegiate athlete.

These "one and dones" are the epitome of the demise of our sports.

Because of players like Anthony Davis, who are almost certainly guaranteed to leave college after just one year of playing and declare his intention to enter the NBA draft, prospective student-athletes have it in mind that Calipari's Kentucky squad is a fast track to fame, success, and riches, just like the big players.

What happened to the term "student-athlete" where, you know, student comes first?

I mean in a society that values intelligence more than anything else, these one and dones are putting in just enough time to sign the big bucks.

Well good for them.

But what happens when their NBA run fades? Not everybody can be a Charles Barkley and be an NBA announcer.

Not everyone can be a Michael Jordan, and singlehandedly become the face of Nike and launch his own line of clothes and shoes.

So what happens when all the riches are gone, and said players have no college degree to fall back on?

This is why players of all NCAA sports should be required to graduate from their schools in order to play and compete professionally.

Unfortunately, people like Calipari know this is going on, but he doesn't care because his players are disposable, since most everyone knows they'll be one and dones anyway.

So why should he care?

I'm not saying he doesn't care, but his actions clearly indicate otherwise.

So instead of taunting players with 30 pieces of silver and the promises of grandeur and lucrative paydays in the NBA, why not reinforce the thought of graduating with a college degree?

There are literally thousands of college students who graduate with student loan debts that will take years to fully pay off.

But you have players who have full rides to a college degree, and yet they brush it aside because they're going to be an NBA superstar.

This is wrong. Flat out, disgustingly wrong.

Calipari should want to win a national championship, as should any coach.

But he shouldn't compromise the very institution that employs him in order to do so.

Whether or not he realizes it, this "new" dynasty style of program is sure to entice every top-recruited high school player in the nation. And Calipari actively recruits these players with full realization that in all likelihood they will be a one and done.

Even in the 2013 tournament, Calipari's squad (which is almost certainly to feature five brand new stars on the court) is favored 6-1 to repeat as national champions.

And you can probably bet those five new faces will declare for the NBA soon after winning said championship.

But one possible solution would be adopting a policy like baseball has. Players are eligible to turn pro after three years with a college team, or immediately after high school. This would definitely cut down on the problem, if not eliminate it altogether.

The problem isn't confined to Kentucky, though. Duke, UNC, and other big league schools have had their share of one and dones over the years. The Blue Devils had Kyrie Irving leave after one year in 2011, and Austin Rivers in 2012.

The NCAA should feel betrayed, and it should do something about the Judas and the 30 pieces of silver that continue to allow it to happen.

Chris Siers is the sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers
The Extra Point
Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.