Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight does not like the new NBA rule prohibiting high school players going directly to the NBA. Actually he despises the rule. Said Knight, it is "the worst thing that's happened to college basketball since I've been coaching," Given that Coach Knight has verbally cataloged every bad decision in college sports for 40-plus years, take note.
So why is he so bent out of shape over guys like UT frosh phenom Kevin Durant?
Knight told Associated Press, "Because now you can have a kid come to school for a year and play basketball and he doesn't even have to go to class. He certainly doesn't have to go to class the second semester. I'm not exactly positive about the first semester. But he would not have to attend a single class the second semester to play through the whole second semester of basketball. That, I think, has a tremendous effect on the integrity of college sports."
Bobby Knight is not my favorite college basketball coach, but he makes a good point about academic integrity. But who cares? Actually Myles Brand, his former boss at IU and current NCAA president, says he cares. I am sure Brand would appreciate more big time college basketball coaches who choose academics over winning at all costs.
Coach Knight means business when he talks about academics. But I wonder if this kind of attitude shows just how out of touch Coach Knight is. He won three NCAA Championships playing by the rules, working extremely hard, and graduating almost all his players -- and tormenting a few. But he hasn't won a Championship in almost 20 years.
Coach Knight should be applauded for his desire to win with integrity. But he has failed to grasp the new reality: We live in a society that rewards cheaters. As Jim Rome and others have said, "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying." College basketball coaches don't even have to cheat. They just have to know how to game the system.
College coaches are paid millions to just win, baby. We can talk all day long about academic integrity, we can read the NCAA press releases on the importance of graduating athletes, we can honestly hope that college coaches follow NCAA rules and act in the athletes' best interest. But none of this matters to big shot boosters who wield great power over every coach with fewer than three championships.
Even the new NCAA reform which ties scholarships to graduation rates will not deter college basketball coaches from their own equivalent of scoring a supermodel (an almost clean, yet appropriate visual). Great looking players like Kevin Durant and Greg Oden are likely off to the NBA after one season in college basketball.
Is this exchange a deal with the devil? An NCAA Championship in exchange for a few negative articles and perhaps losing a 13th scholarship? This year's Carmelo Anthony straight up for next year's 1.7 point per game role player?
Hook 'em horns!
Dick "Hoops" Weiss on "one-year wonders."
© 2007 Marc Isenberg. All rights reserved.