Letters to the Editor

Letter: One and done

March 29, 2014


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!


4 years ago

Being a great basketball player involves a lot more than bouncing a ball. Not very many have true athletic ability and it is something to be admired and respected. Using the body does not mean you can not also use your brain.

I dislike the stereotype of the athlete as a "dumb jock." However, I seriously doubt the wisdom of recruiting middle students for the NBA. I would prefer to see the students go though college first and graduate and then be recruited.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years ago

I think they should also be held to the same academic standards, not a watered down version to have them play somewhere while not working to get a meaningful education. Less than 1% of D1 basketball/football players make it to the pros. So 99% of these kids need to be able to gain meaningful employment after college yet no one seems willing to ensure this happens.

John Graham 4 years ago

Ok already. We get it Amy that you really hate the football and basketball teams. You regularly post bashing the two teams. Funny how you don't bash any women's teams. If you are worried about academic standards how about complaining about the remedial math and English classes that the university has for the general student population. The university is admitting students that don't have university level skills for one reason, money. If the university was worried about academic standards then it would turn away applicants that can't pass entry level math or English classes instead of providing remedial courses. If the applicant can't pass entry level math or English for what ever reason then that student has a poor chance of thriving at the college level. But they admit those students anyway in order to get a few semesters of tuition and fees from them before they finally quit or flunk out.

By the way both the mens basketball team and the football team that you repeatedly bash are well above the ncaa standards for progress towards graduation. The ncaa has also shown that student-athletes do better than the general student population with respect to graduation rates.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years ago

Yes because demanding that only student-atheletes who have show they can compete both academically and athletically be given free rides is the wrong thing to do. Also demanding that the school should demand that these kids work to get a degree (not just meet the low NCAA standards) is really hatefully. How could someone possibablly suggest that the best interest of the kids be looked out for, your right we should continue to pump these kids full of false hopes that if they just spend more time at the gym and less in the classroom their lives will be better. Let's get real 99% of these kids will not play another minute of their sport after their senior year! why not make sure that when that happens they have a degree or at the very least they only have a year of college to go. Other "non-revenue" sports weather women or men's sports all have higher graduation rates, why because people don't spend so much time telling those athletes that with a little harder work In the gym they will go pro, those kids are not all padded and protected by the university. They are encouraged to get their education and to prepare for life with their sport, this is how all teams should work and if the student makes it to the pro, good for them, but the Universoty should be preparing them for a career.

John Graham 4 years ago

Just admit it, you will feel better. You simply hate the basketball and football teams. By the way without those programs a good share of the non-revenue sports don't exist.

Abdu Omar 4 years ago

First, I agree with the letter writer that "one and done" is not good for both the university athletic program or the future of the athlete. Let me tell you a situation that happened to me: When I taught high school, I had a student who was an excellent baseball pitcher and was hoping to play professionally. He chose to go play professionally and didn't go to college or even play on that level. After 2 years on a highly rated minor league team, he took a line drive directly into his right (throwing) arm and damaged the muscle permanently. He cannot pitch, he has no college degree, barely graduated from high school and can't join the military. I want to tell you that this kid was very sharp but didn't care about his school work. He is married, lives in a small apartment with his wife, and works at a very low paying job. I think "one and done' is not a good idea and it robs the student athlete of a future beyond sports. Every athlete ends his sports career at some time.

Mike Ford 4 years ago

let's see....Zach Randolph, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Demar DeRozan, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Love, J.J. Hickson, Mike Conley, Eric Gordon, Lance Stephenson, Spencer Hawes, and Jrue Holliday. What do they have in common? they all spent a year in college before going to the NBA. I know all of these names. David Aldredge wrote an article entitled, "Altruism far down on list of motives for NBA's age limit." Of the 49 "One and done players" since this NCAA regulation came about 40 of these players were drafted and three of them completely flamed out. Hardly a failure rate. Two players, Kevin Love and Spencer Hawes, are White, so this isn't necessarily a poverty thing. As far as high schoolers go there are failures like Robert Swift and Korleone Young, but there are also success stories like Monta Ellis and Amir Johnson who were 2nd round picks in the NBA Draft who've carved out long careers. Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, Al Harrington, J.R. Smith, Josh Smith, Martell Webster, Dorell Wright, Gerald Green, and Travis Outlaw, have had fruitful NBA careers out of High School. Of course there are the Kevin Garnetts, Kobe Bryants, LeBron Jameses, and Dwight Howards of the world. There are players like Brandon Jennings who played a season in pro level Euro Ball in Italy before going to the Bucks and the Pistons. I think there is an acute overreaction to this phenomenon because it's finally reached KU and affected the mythological views of most KU fans. UK, Texas, UCLA, Michigan State, and a couple of other schools have dealt with this issue. Unless you want "Hoosiers" style basketball why do people complain?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years ago

Boy!! And I thought that is was the only one that thought this situation was stupid and non-productive!!

I have said for years (sometimes in this forum) that the University condoning this "one and done" mess has been wasting funds and facilities that are designated for "real" students. Not to mention participating in a crap shoot that these phony "students" will have any sort of means to exist in life after their brief "flash into trash" time tossing balls around for the basketball team.

What seems to be missing in the yearly foldup of the Kansas basketball team is the presence of these kids who may have some particular skill at hitting a basket, but lack experience and polish that is usually required in any sort of success in life.

I regard Coach Self as a great coach and leader but his approval of this sort of fraud on these young kids puzzles me greatly.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.