In late April, I got into a debate with the blogger at nationalbasketballblog, and we agreed to disagree that Jeremy Tyler jumping to the European Leagues, and dropping out of High School to do it, is not too bad a deal. This came on the heels when I openly wondered what parent would do so. I promptly did a 180, and am happy to do so. Being a hypocrite is not something I particularly enjoy.
Now comes news that a player who spend 1 year at Memphis in the 2007-08 season possibly cheated on his SAT’s. The only player on the team who qualified was Derrick Rose.
But here is the irony of all this. DC, the blogger of NationalBasketBlog, is a Bulls fan. I just wonder how much longer anyone can argue against a kid doing something to better himself, like Jeremy Tyler, while supporting a system that basically has Derrick Rose cheat on his SAT’s so he can get into Memphis, and help them win a few games along the way.
This one & done deal is crap. So is Rose faking the SAT. What’s really dumb is that it supports, and encourages, that money is the only important thing here. Rose faking the SAT, and I doubt these allegations are false by the way, unless somebody badly misinterpreted the fact that it was a freshman who played on the 2007-08 team, is a symptom of several problems.
One, that it’s okay to be illiterate as long as you generate money for our college basketball programs. (Which makes what Jeremy Tyler doing even more appealing. If you’re a kid who can play his ass off, and I’m pretty sure Jeremy Tyler could have scored well above an 800+ on his SAT’s, then you should be able to read & write at a reasonable level. It’s very much a searing indictment of our own educational level.)
Two, that it’s a surprise. I’m not shocked. I’m just curious why the NCAA cares. Every time a story like this, or the recent Tim Floyd giving money to an OJ Mayo runner comes out, it makes me roll my eyes. These guys live in plush surroundings when other people scrape by to pay tuition and books. It’s a struggle to make it through college because of the cost. And, these kids aren’t sweating it. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. I’m saying it’s an indictment that these kids represent something more than their basketball abilities: $$$M$$O$$N$$E$$Y$$$. That’s it. It’s money for the coffers of universities to keep a high level basketball or football program. It’s money for the Universities due to TV money coming in. Many of these games are well viewed, and as the decision for CBS to put the NCAA basketball tournament games online for free showed, I’m sure they got a ton more viewership out of it. But, it also came with an opportunity to televise the games to a new audience. And the ability to get sponsorship.
The NCAA has proven one thing: It’s not about what’s right. It’s about what creates the highest level of interest. Unfortunately, the only thing that drives some of these “Did Tim Floyd give money to OJ Mayo runner” type stories is the need to create that colleges really care about the education. And you know what? It’s a scam. The fans know it. They want to root for their alma mater to win because that’s what you do. They know what the deal is.
The bottom line here is that players like Derrick Rose generate a ton of hype for an University, even more so for a school like Memphis, and having things like this only hurts the ability of a college to field a competitive basketball team. And, that’s the end game for coaches like Calipari. They don’t care about grades other than it’s a requirement to keep a player eligible.
This says nothing about the rest of the Memphis Sports department where Memphis basketball is the biggest money maker. All this accomplishes is that it will take away a valuable aspect that the program has just because Derrick Rose cheated on his SAT’s. Making other student-athletes, the actual student-athletes, suffer because Derrick Rose cheated is stupid.
I’m just tired of the hypocrisy. (I know right?) I knew Rose was one & done. So did Calipari. So did every college coach in America. So did the NCAA organization even though they won’t admit it. I hate the one & done rule that the NBA has, and I hate that a kid has to cheat just to play one year of college ball in the US when he won’t go to classes or focus on that kind of thing. If you’re a student-athlete be one. If you’re going to enter the NBA draft after one year, why bother with classes? How long will it remain acceptable that these organizations not ever get off their fucking duff and be proactive? Is it too much to ask for wealthy administrators to get off their collective asses and do what’s best for everyone?
You know what should happen? Make Derrick Rose pay back the free “schooling” he got. That’s fair. Beyond that, drop it. Forever. Please.
What I wish that people would understand that it’s not the University of Memphis or the NCAA, or even Derrick Rose necessarily, that really suffers. It’s that kids see Derrick Rose get drafted, 1st overall, and they think education doesn’t matter. I wish the NCAA dropped the pretense for guys like Rose, and Mayo, so that they could get on with the more important business of actually educating the guys who are there for the education. (Or as the NCAA likes to tout during the NCAA tournament–it’s big moneymaker for basketball–the players who are going pro in something other than sports.) Please, for the children’s sake, think about what this story really means to a 16 year old kid phenom who has spent his whole life in AAU ball. Will anybody think about that? No. It’s not the Memphis’ Commercial Appeal’s job, nor is it their problem. They are a newspaper and their job is reporting news. This is news. The problem is that this is unproductive news that only serves to blame a few individuals for where the overall system and power structure is the real blame. Education in America is a problem folks, yet many states across continue to cut education budgets. So, then teacher unions squawk about how important those teachers are.
It would be really swell if teacher unions weren’t the ones trumpeting up teacher value’s. Seriously. My mother and father have taught at various levels of schools throughout my life. My Father’s parent’s were both teachers at various levels throughout their lives. Teaching is not something I’m against here. Quite the opposite actually.
Beyond even all that, I hope kids don’t get the idea that not passing the SAT’s is okay. Personally, I think that whole idea is a joke. I’ve never taken the SAT’s, and because I went to a Community College, I’ve never had to. I could get in without them. (I’m also 29 and going to college late. Even if I had gotten a 1600 on my SAT’s when I was 17, I didn’t go to college and went into the military.) Now, the problem here is the approach to education, and how the testing system puts many children at peril.
Let’s NOT use this opportunity of this “Derrick Rose cheating on SAT thing” as an example of why education is going wrong. Let’s DO use the point of why education isn’t useful when talking about basketball players who are trying to make the NBA, or at least the majority of these players anyway, when so many aren’t coming for their education. Let’s DO make this about why our education needs to get better as our country re-invests itself in the 21st century and beyond. Let’s NOT all toot our horns about how important Rose getting an 800 on a pointless exam means to his future life when he’s going to be wealthy, unless he becomes really stupid, which I highly doubt, for the rest of his life.
If you want the real irony in all of this, just watch this clip of the new commercial that Adidas made in collaboration with Free Darko. What’s ironic is that Rose’s mind is often cited, sometimes obliquely, along with his stunning physical abilities (he’s a freak of nature). Sorry about the rant. I’m just tired of seeing this crap be news. It’s really not. For what it’s worth, these commercials are awesome. I’ve seen the commercial, and it’s very well done. I’m pretty sure that the guys passed the SAT on Free Darko, but you never know. Maybe they’re intrinsic geniuses of another order.
P.S. Geoff Petrie, in case, by some strange off chance you read this, if you get the chance to acquire Rose tomorrow, please do so. Thanks.