Coaches need to speak up on one-and-done rule

June, 1, 2009
Investigations and innuendo about potential rules violations or an invalid amateur status hover over places like USC, Connecticut, Memphis and -- because of the attention shifted to John Calipari -- Kentucky.

The reach now possibly includes Mississippi State, as Renardo Sidney's eligibility is under scrutiny.

What is the common thread? The 19-year-old age limit/one-year-out-of-high-school-rule the NBA has in place.

When the collective bargaining agreement is revisited next year between the NBA and the NBA players' association for 2011, the two parties have to admit they were wrong and go back, not forward.

If college coaches (through their lobbying arm at the National Association of Basketball Coaches) have any juice, then they have to voice their opinion. It's not working.

The new ethics commission chaired by Michigan's John Beilein needs to stand up and mount the campaign. College basketball should only welcome those that want to be in the game, not those who are forced to do so.

If the NBA rule wasn't in place, then O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose, Nate Miles and Sidney would have never played in college.

If they failed, then they failed. That's life. But to attempt to get them eligible makes a mockery of the institutions.

There are investigations looking into Mayo, Rose and Miles, and there is at least a thorough examination underway into Sidney's case once USC and UCLA backed out of the commitment process and the Bulldogs took it on.

It's OK if they never showed up in college. This might not get rid of the problem, but if they weren't going to school, then would there be a charge that a college coach is paying a handler? That a stand-in took a standardized test? That a former manager turned agent gave extra benefits to a recruit? That a player would move from Mississippi to Los Angeles with his family and bounce around to two different high schools with alleged financial help?

College basketball would be fine without the players who are destined to covet the NBA out of high school. Would the game miss out if John Wall doesn't go to Kentucky? No.

Look at some of the top teams recently. Pitt had players like DeJuan Blair, Sam Young and Levance Fields, all of whom weren't thinking about the NBA out of high school.

UCLA had Darren Collison, Alfred Aboya and Josh Shipp.

OK, so the Bruins might not have had Jrue Holiday or Kevin Love. Would that have been so awful?

Wake Forest still would have had James Johnson and Jeff Teague, but maybe not Al-Farouq Aminu had the door been open to him. Aminu, ironically, stayed after his freshman season and after the other two bolted. That might be an exception.

Even Blake Griffin wasn't thinking NBA out of high school, as his body wasn't as developed two years ago. He would have likely stayed at Oklahoma for the same two seasons.

Michael Beasley might have gone directly and skipped out on Kansas State.

That's OK, too.

Making players stick it out in college for two or three years once they have enrolled isn't going to work, either.

The elite players who have already been contacted by agents or runners for agents are on that path. Forcing them to go to school for one or two or three years isn't going to solve that issue. No one has to go to college. You go so you can become more educated and to better yourself in life, but you don't have to do that. Clearly a culture has been created that is putting programs into even more of the NCAA's negative light.

There was plenty of cheating going on in college sports long before the change in the NBA rule. And there will still be illicit moves made in the game. But a lot of the implicit dealings of convincing these players that they have to be in college will be gone.

• Attorneys have muddled up plenty of these cases, too, lately.

If your son was accused of cheating on an SAT or ACT, what would you do? I know what I would say. I would stand up so everyone could hear that my son was at the testing site on this date, at this location, wearing these clothes, sitting next to a person who looked like X. I would defend the charge. I would make sure everyone knew my son was there and took the exam. Yet no one from Derrick Rose's camp has said anything close to this. Instead, the comment from Rose's attorney to The Associated Press was this: He cooperated in the investigation of the SAT allegations while at Memphis and "that investigation uncovered no wrongdoing on his part." That's not enough. Why not say where you took the test, when you took the test and stand up for yourself?

• Where is Tim Floyd? He has been accused of handing $1,000 in cash on a street corner in Beverly Hills to Rodney Guillory. That's a provocative charge that deserves a response. There is no gag order on Floyd. He is allowed to defend himself and say it isn't true. He's free to say he wasn't on that corner meeting Guillory and providing cash. Floyd's silence, like Rose's, doesn't mean the allegations are true. But not commenting won't make it disappear.

• Where is Nate Miles? Why isn't he explaining exactly how he supported himself and how he didn't accept any benefits from Josh Nochimson? Why won't Miles defend himself?

If any of these coaches, university presidents, or for that matter, the NCAA want the current stain on the sport to be lifted, they need transparency. They need to defend themselves with evidence and not just hide behind the cloak and dagger of an NCAA investigation and committee on infractions.

Investigations at USC, Connecticut and Memphis, at the very least, will hover over these programs for the next few weeks. The committee on infractions will deliberate about the Memphis case after the hearing Saturday, and there will be more in the next few months as info is garnered on USC and Connecticut.

Boy, is it worth it to force these players to go to college? Is it worth having to deal with this mess for weeks and months? Is it worth the time and effort in gathering evidence of phone records, interviews and copying costs?

The NABC needs to start the campaign with the NBAPA and the NBA. If there is a desire to build a common thread, then they need to agree on going back, not forward. And if the NBA wants to fully develop its developmental league for those that take the gamble out of high school, it can work out without the need for an NCAA inquiry.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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