I hope I’m not just spinning my wheels

I want to be clear.  I do not really care about saving the NCAA.  Any ideas I come up with are to create a better athletic development system, and if the NCAA or an organization like it is part of any of these solutions then so be it.

In the context of the athletic development system, the NCAA’s biggest problem is two-fold.  One, it has become through its own actions and some actions outside of its control in the division I level, the de facto minor league systems for the NFL and the NBA.  Two, the people in charge of the NCAA, the presidents and chancellors, do not understand that.  A small liberal arts division III school like Williams College in Massachusetts may have an athletic department, but its teams are not in the same business as the University of Alabama.

The NCAA cannot continue to treat its division I “professional” minor league schools the same as its division III amateur schools.  It is not sustainable because it doesn’t make logical sense.  I don’t believe the problem is all the NCAA’s making.  The two major professional sports leagues without their own minor league systems are complicit in this mess.

The NFL and the NBA have taken all the money they have made and have not done anything to improve their player development systems.  They each essentially have the same system for player development that they have always had, namely use the NCAA at its highest levels to identify and train potential professional players without having to invest any money in it.

Then we get the farce of NBA executives and scouts complaining that players are not coming in to the NBA ready to play in the NBA because they aren’t getting the proper training in college.  Well, that is the NBA’s problem.  Until recently, at no point in the development system did the NBA do anything to actually develop players in the way they want them to be able to play.  We can only hope that the recent expansion of the NBDL will lead to fewer players who don’t want to go to college to play basketball to forgo that route and become professionals at an earlier age.

My whole thing is this, to try to think of athletic development as a continuum and not separate my thinking as high school, college, and professional.  The goal should be to produce the best players possible.  That is another problem with the system.  It does not think about the players and the player’s needs.

The institutions are always going to do what is best for the institutions and the coaches are going to do what is best for them and their programs.  No one at the NCAA or professional level is trying to create a system that feeds the needs of the players.  Every decision that is made by the powers that be answers the question of whether it helps the program, the institution, the franchise, or the league.  Rarely does anyone stop and ask, “How is this helping the players?”

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One Response to “I hope I’m not just spinning my wheels”

  1. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.

    It’s always helpful to read content from other writers and practice a little something from other websites.

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