How We Saved the World, Again
Don't ask me how a post about Rep. Steve Cohen's age limit remarks, and Cohen himself, ended up on The Baseline. Oh, I forgot: Because that's where everything corporate and boring goes to die.
Anyway, this got myself and Joey talking about the rule, with me explaining to him the exemption/cap-and-trade system devised on last week's podcast. For those of you who didn't make it that far, Dan, Ken, special guest Kevin Pelton, and myself discussed the possibility of teams getting a voucher for, say, one preps-to-pro pick per decade. Break glass in case of LeBron James, in other words. They could be traded, too, so in theory one team could horde them in hopes of the next LeBron coming down.
This lead one of us to a very basic, but meaningful, breakthrough: Education is valuable. But you know who it has the most value for? People who don't have the opportunity to make millions right out of high school as professional athletes. What if, whenever a player wanted to go pro out of the 12th grade, they would designate a promising non-athlete to be tutored up and attend a four-year college—all at the expense of the team that drafted them? We're talking about peanuts for an NBA franchise, especially if the number of players making the jump were reduced through the aforementioned system.
It's not just that the "student-athlete" model is hypocritical, dated, and hopelessly flawed. It's that, if you want to talk about teens who could make the most difference in society if exposed to higher ed, basketball players are way at the bottom of the list. That's not to say that all athletes are stupid, or some don't have an appetite for learning. Just that, if you're going to pull that "education can change a life" cant with a one-and-done, you're insulting every potential doctor, lawyer, educator, whatever who isn't currently in a position to attend college.
The only losers here? Someone like Kevin Durant, who wants to both play ball and pursue a degree (over the summer). The question is, would he have the same educational option available to him if he tried to go to college as a preps-to-pro player? That would depend on a lot of things, and might be an actually realistic reason for the one-and-done to exist. Derrick Rose, though? Surely he's got some friend screwed over by city schools, and who might even be useful to him down the road if he gets a business degree.
Hell, if that happened, it might even help the NBA, too.
P.S.We are looking for research assistants for the new book, preferably in Seattle, Chicago, Boston, or New Haven. We will get you college credit and free shit. Holler at the gmail (freedarko at gmail dot com) if interested.