To the editor:
March madness is with us, and with that phenomenon, comes the notice that some of the member of the teams are “one and done.” The media are filled with great praise for these wunderkind who bounce basketballs. Rivals, an organization that purports to rank these highly touted kids has suggested that some team is courting a middle school boy who has great promise as a future NBA athlete.
One likely response to this situation is that it will be a godsend for the boys who can qualify and can make it into the ranks of the great! On the other hand, what legitimacy can anyone claim for an academic institution’s involvement in this sort of thing? As an academician — a professor, dean and a small university president — I seriously question the validity of any of this for a college or a university.
I was quite pleased a few years ago when the new president of the NCAA, formerly president of the University of Washington and chancellor Louisiana State University, was apparently viewing the “one and done” situation as something that needs to be fixed. This is good! However, the problem may be bigger than he is. Faculties, legislators, regents and others who value and contribute to the strength of the academies in our midst should stop behavior that drives the deduction of educational institutions!