Letters to the Editor

Letter: One and done

March 25, 2014


To the editor:

Sadly the mighty Jayhawk’s season has come to an end. The picture of Andrew Wiggins trying to hold on to the ball surrounded by his opponents says a lot, but his statements and near constant moniker of “one and done” say more. This year’s team had so much talent, and if they’d practiced being a team for the long haul, instead of focusing on one year of glory, the outcomes could have been different in nearly every loss.

Money is the siren of today, the set of blinders that lead men and boys down roads that do not have to be followed. Both Wiggins and Embiid have been lauded as one-year players all year. If they could see beyond the money and stay in school at Kansas University, the Jayhawk basketball team would be much stronger next year and win with their talents.

Focus on the team. guys, the money will still be down that road. Going there with a pride and  smile would look so much better than the front page of anguish that ended this one.


John Graham 3 years, 8 months ago

Granted I believe both Wiggins and Embiid would make additional improvements in their skills by playing another year under Coach Self just as all college athletes would benefit from another year of coaching and maturity. I am sure the team would benefit greatly from having Wiggins and Embiid around for another year as well. But who among us would put off for another year the opportunity of making several millions of dollars per year in our field of interest, whatever that might be, in order to receive more training. Yes more training might help their chance at long term success but that is not a guarantee, and those millions are being offered now. While I am greedy and would love Wiggins and Embiid to stay another year, I am realistic in that they would be stupid to stay. I believe Coach Self (knowing they will be most likely two of the first three drafted this year) will encourage them to enter the draft.

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 8 months ago

The NBA needs to adopt major league baseball rules- if a kid wants to go pro out of high school, let him. Sending Andrew Wiggins to college for one year serves no real purpose. If however a kid opts to go to a D1 college, they should be untouchable for three years.

Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 8 months ago

KU. Needs to do a better job or recruiting kids who will stay, don't throw money away on kids who are just here to tread water for a year, it hurts all parties involved, including the academic side of KU (you know the real reason they are supposed to be here)

John Graham 3 years, 8 months ago

The "money thrown away" on Wiggins and Embiid does not come close to the money they helped generate for the university and non-revenue sports. A recent Forbes report stated KU basketball is valued at $33M and the 2nd most profitable with $20M profit. So any money spent on Wiggins and Embiid, who both helped significantly in the team's success this year, was hardly "thrown away". That profit helps fund non-revenue sports/athletic scholarships as well as other university activities. Success of the basketball team (which Wiggins and Embiid significantly contributed to) also significantly helps in university fund raising in general. So not "all parties involved get hurt" as you suggest by recruiting one-and-done players. As the rules are, KU loses if they don't recruit players like Wiggins and Embiid even if they leave after one year. Oubre and Alexander are likely gone after next year, and both figure to be major impact players on the team that once again will be favored to win the conference and make a run for the ncaa title. I'll take players that leave after one year than have lesser players that stay for four years like KSU and have mediocre teams like KSU.

Amy Varoli Elliott 3 years, 8 months ago

It may have helped in the Athletics fund raising but I have little doubt that it helped at all in the academic fund raising. And money generated by sports does not come back to the academic side, which is the side that built the university and contributes far more to the State and country than a sports team ever will. Spending money on players who are simply going to spend one year here then bolt for what they think are greener pastors helps no one. Only 1% of college players make it to the pro level and of that only 20% play more than 3 years. Yet more than 80% are bankrupt within 2 years of their careers ending. So tell me how it helps to encourage/enable these players do one year, get no education and then leave. It hurts the team in consistency, it makes the players look bad because they commit to a university only to back out of the deal, and you continue a cycle where you have highly talented kids who are kept in a bubble and feed a line of crap about being a pro only to be left high and dry by the people who encourage this when they don't make it. It is far better for the university to stick with kids who excel both in the classroom and on the court, who will commit to carrying out their word to the university to both get a degree and excel academically (because in the end they can make a large impact on the graduation rate the university is judged by) and to stick with the program for 4 years.

John Graham 3 years, 8 months ago

You could not be more wrong about sports teams not helping alumni donations to the university as a whole. The data has been shown repeatedly that alumni donations to a university go up markedly after a sports team (football or basketball) has success. Deny it all you want but the data does not lie.

Wiggins and Embiid will make millions of dollars because of basketball that otherwise they would ever make in the real world. Yes the majority don't manage their money well but that is a separate issue.

You are also completely wrong about graduation rates. The graduation rate of the basketball team is significantly higher than the general student population graduation rate.

It is clear you lack basic knowledge about the topics you complain about. You should know your data better before making statements about which you clearly know nothing. It is not possible to have a meaningful discussion with someone that has no idea what they are talking about.

John Graham 3 years, 8 months ago

Also the team GPA is above the general student population GPA so they are excelling academically. Wiggins and Embiid have kept their word with respect to their scholarships. Those athletic scholarships they sign are one year renewable. Thus they commit to only one year at a time not four years. The university can deny renewal after any year if the university desires.

With respect to lack of team consistency , the response is quite simple it must not be an issue for Coach Self or he would not recruit as he does. The final and best argument is 82.5% which is Coach Self's win percentage at KU. By the way that is by far the best win percentage of any coach in a major D1 conference with 5 yrs tenure or more.

So the university benefits by $20M per year profit from the basketball team. That money among other things helps support several non-revenue sports and their student athletes. Those sports would have to be funded by other university funds or dropped which would mean a good sized group of student athletes could lose their scholarships without the basketball team success. Basketball success means more alumni donations to the university as a whole. It has also been shown that successful sports teams lead to increased national awareness of the university and increased enrollment. The basketball one and done such as Wiggins and Embiid go on to make millions in the NBA. They may or may not manage the money well but the fact is they made it which they would never make anywhere near such money in the real world. So your argument that no one benefits is simply wrong on many counts.

The easiest way to sum up how wrong you are is that the most successful basketball coach over the past 10 years is happy recruiting one and done. His success means his system works. If the university did not make any money or some other benefit from the current basketball program how long do you think it would be continued? The university is happy because they are making millions of dollars a year off the team as well as benefitting from increased alumni donations and student enrollment due to the team's success. No one in their right mind would trade the current method Self uses in recruiting players including one and done to only recruiting four year players such as those at lesser programs like KSU, Texas Tech or WV. I would love to see Wiggins and Embiid stay but the fact they leave after one year does not mean that no one benefits from them having been here for one year. In fact everyone benefits, unfortunately you don't know the data or you could see that. Wiggins and Embiid are better prepared to enter the NBA now than they were one year ago. Another year or two wouldn't hurt but they are still better off after one year of college than none. And the university as well as the basketball team are most certainly better off from them having been here one year compared to none.

Mike Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

is Scott Pollard bankrupt....no. Is Raef LeFrentz bankrupt.....no. Is Paul Pierce bankrupt....no. is Kirk Heinrich bankrupt.....no. Is Nick Collison bankrupt.....no. Is Jeff Withey bankrupt....no. Are the Morris twins bankrupt.....no. Is Ben McLemore bankrupt.....no. Is Thomas Robinson bankrupt.....no. Is Keith Langford bankrupt.....no. in fact he paid for some of his relative Justin Wesley's schooling at KU after many lucrative years in Euroleague ball. Please KU fans get over your mythology and hatred of the NBA....after all not all of us can live in some twentysomething extended mythology the rest of our lives.

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 8 months ago

Mike- your evidence actually feeds the counter-argument; with the exception of Ben Mclemore, none of those players were one and done guys

Mike Ford 3 years, 8 months ago

Pierce left early, the Morris twins left early, Thomas Robinson left early, Cole Aldrich left early. And Xavier Henry has finally found a team in the Lakers. What's your point?

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 8 months ago

there is a MASSIVE difference between "leaving early" and "one and done". Based upon the title of the LTE, it's a distinction that the writer finds important.

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