NCAA vs. NBA draft policy: Are changes needed? (Part II)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made it a priority to address the issue of raising the age limit from 19 to 20.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, holds up the name of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the NBA Draft Lottery. Silver  has made it a priority to address the issue of raising the age limit from 19 to 20.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is down to its final 4 teams vying for the NBA Championship for this season. Meanwhile, Tuesday marked the beginning of the next season as the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery, giving them the chance to pick first in the draft in consecutive years. While the draft lottery creates a modicum of suspense for NBA fans, the league would be better suited making major changes to the NBA Draft that would make the teams better for the long run, analysts say.

The advent of the NBA Draft Lottery was meant to be a deterrent to teams intentionally losing so that they could have the number one pick in the draft. The main impetus for the change was consecutive years where the Houston Rockets (1983 & 84) seemingly tanked in order to land two highly touted prospects, Ralph Sampson in 1983 and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984. The change was necessary but the overreaction to institute a draft lottery allowed for a routine in which the worst teams do not receive the best players.

The NBA Draft lottery was instituted after the Houston Rockets received the #1 pick in 1983 & '84 and used them to select Ralph Sampson (r) and Hakeem Olajuwon (l) respectively.

The NBA Draft lottery was instituted after the Houston Rockets received the #1 pick in 1983 & ’84 and used them to select Ralph Sampson (r) and Hakeem Olajuwon (l) respectively.

Contrasting this with the National Football League (NFL) model that aligns the top pick with worst record, with the exception of consecutive years, one can see why there tends to consistently be a problem with the distribution of talent in the NBA. The draft lottery system raises questions about the legitimacy of the process as conspiracy theories are constantly attached to this system. All of these issues make the questions about who should be eligible to be drafted seem minor, yet the age of the draftees continues to be an issue that’s front and center.

The hoopla surrounding this year’s draft class was focused on talented underclassmen like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, and Julius Randle. These young men were all freshmen when they declared for the draft. They are the latest in a consistent string of talented youngsters who spend just one year removed from their graduating high school class before declaring for the NBA draft, as is currently required by the NBA. Many are opposed to this ‘one and done’ rule in theory, yet there is more excitement surrounding this draft class than there has been in several years.

This year's draft class features highly touted freshmen  (l - r)  Jabari Parker, Joel Embid, Andrew Wiggins, and Julius Randle.

This year’s draft class features highly touted freshmen (l – r) Jabari Parker, Joel Embid, Andrew Wiggins, and Julius Randle.

Numerous opponents to the NBA’s ‘one and done’ rule make many unsubstantiated claims as to the certain improvement of the quality of the NCAA and NBA if the the rule goes away.

ESPN president John Skipper described the rule on age limits:

“The single worst violation of student-athlete relationships,” Skipper also said: “I have no quarrel with kids wanting to go play basketball. I think they should have to stay a couple or three years.”

ESPN President John Skipper is one of many who oppose the NBA one and done rule.

ESPN President John Skipper is one of many who oppose the NBA one and done rule.

Skipper is among the many who believe the indentured servitude that is collegiate sports is a better fit for the very athlete who will generate billions annually for televisions networks, advertisers, institutions, and franchises. Interestingly, Skipper is against these college players being paid.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has received greater attention from his handling of the Donald Sterling mess than for his initial agenda, which has been to change the ‘one and done’ rule.

“I’ve been a proponent of raising the age [limit] from 19 to 20 because I think it would make a better league,” announced Silver in a conference call with sports editors in April. With no data to back these assertions, Silver has repeatedly stated the importance of raising the age limit.

NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson supports the one and done rule and points out the exploitive nature of the NCAA.

NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson supports the one and done rule and points out the exploitive nature of the NCAA.

Inquiring minds should ask: What financial benefit would the league see if this were to occur? The simple answer is, without any other changes, an increase in the age limit would drastically reduce the average players’ earning potential. Players are far less likely to receive maximum contracts after the age of 30 and a change of the ‘one and done’ rule automatically pushes every player closer to 30 by the time of their second free agency contract. Meanwhile, there is no salary cap for coaches and executives.

As is stands, the millionaire executives paid to evaluate, draft, train, and coach the players have unlimited earning potential, with a longer period of time to do their job. However, players would have their earning potential limited and have to spend more of their physical prime playing for free. Many supporters of the ‘one and done’ rule think about current athletes and the luxurious lifestyle they are afforded.

The Cavaliers won the number one pick in the NBA draft with new General Manager David Griffin (l) receiving congratulations from Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum (r).

The Cavaliers won the number one pick in the NBA draft with new General Manager David Griffin (l) receiving congratulations from Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum (r).

They forget about the hundreds of athletes that came before them who were completely taken advantage of. They do not consider that these current NBA rules are already restrictive, considering how dependent the sport is on selling its superstars. NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson points out:

“Colleges are greedy, They want to keep them [kids] in school because it helps them – it helps the coach, it helps the winning percentage.”

The NCAA’s motive is clear, keeping talent that produces billions annually for as long as possible makes sense for business. However, the NBA seems to be confused by claiming to want to put the best product on the floor. But this year’s draft class illustrates that a great number of the best players available are 19, not 20 or older. So why wouldn’t the NBA want them? Actually they do. They just realize that so many of their executives are so poor at developing these youngsters when they come into the league that they hope to get more finished products. Unfortunately for them, there is no business immune to the pitfalls of poor management, which is the NBA’s biggest problem, not age limits as the league tries to suggest..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Northwestern players win first battle in legal war over paying college athletes

Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter continues to lead the efforts unionize college athletes.

Former Northwestern University quarterback Kain Colter continues to lead the effort to unionize college athletes.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Northwestern University’s football team received a ruling in their favor that allows for them to unionize as a workforce. The football team, led by former quarterback Kain Colter, had appealled to the Chicago branch of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to be recognized as a workforce, based on the income they generate for the university and the stipulations in place for scholarship athletes that prevent them from receiving any of the income they earn.

NLRB Peter Sung Ohr made the ruling allowing Northwestern football players to join a union.

NLRB Peter Sung Ohr made the ruling allowing Northwestern University’s football players to join a union.

The regional director of the NLRB, Peter Sung Ohr, issued a ruling allowing the Norhtwestern University football players to form a union. The are several key takeaways from Ohr’s ruling:
1) Northwestern University is a private institution so this ruling will not likely impact collegiate athletes in public and state colleges.
2) Ohr specifically highlighted $235 million in income Northwestern University’s football produced between 2003 and 2012.
3) Ohr also took into account the “50 – 60 hours per week student athletes are required to perform in order to receive the benefits of their scholarship.”
4) Ohr explained in his ruling that:

“The level of control that the university has over the football players, (dress codes, living arrangements, money restrictions, etc.) resembles the kind of control an employer has over an employee, not a school over a student.”

NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy believes the NCAA has been fair in their compensation for student-athletes.

NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy believes the NCAA has been fair in its compensation of student-athletes.

Though this ruling is a major victory for the players, the matter is far from settled. With this ruling, Northwestern University’s football players will be able to start pursuing the benefits of employees in a union. They will work towards the ability to collectively bargain for protections in work conditions, earnings, and health care coverage. Northwestern University is already on the record against the decision stating:

“We believe strongly that student-athletes are not employees, but students.”

The university has already made it clear that their legal team will appeal the decision. Northwestern University will be joined by the NCAA in their appeal efforts as the college sports body has also voiced displeasure with the ruling. NCAA chief legal officer was quoted in a statement as saying,

“We strongly disagree with the notion that student-athletes are employees.”

It is clear that this is the beginning of a legal battle that the NCAA definitely does not want to lose. Score one for the players, now it’s on to round two.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

NCAA March Madness vs. NBA draft policy: Are changes needed? (Part I)

The logo for the NBA draft.

The NBA Draft Logo is on the minds of March Madness players who hope to make the leap to the NBA this summer, but as debate heats up it is clear that changes should be considered.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

As March Madness continues to draw more basketball fans to the television, the topic of players making it to the National Basketball Association (NBA) frequently comes up. The current model for the NBA draft allows for players to declare for the draft a year after graduation from high school. The common route for exceptional players is to spend a year in college playing basketball before declaring for the draft, a prospect that many are unhappy with and constantly discuss.

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West

NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West has shared his views about the draft policy.

It is clear that the current NBA draft model is unpopular with many fans and players. Among the complaints with the model are the claims that NBA product is being compromised, the NCAA product is disturbed, and that the majority of the young players are unprepared for the fame, fortune, and high expectations. Although there is validity in some of these concerns, there are also exaggerations attached as well. Hall of Famer Jerry West, recently commented on the issue, in assessing the NBA talent pool.

“The NBA is in the worst shape it’s ever been,'” he said. One of the reasons for his critique was based on the number of young players yet to mature into what they were expected to as they were brought into the league. Another Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley, took it a step further by making it very clear that players need more time.

“I want kids to stay in college for two years…bad teams aren’t getting help, they’re getting projects,” Barkley said.

Barkley has been vocal as a March Madness commentator in sharing his opinion that college players need a minimum of two years in college to mature enough to be productive in the NBA as soon as they are drafted.

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley

Hall of Famer /TNT and March Madness Commentator Charles Barkley has consistently stated that potential NBA players need a minimum of two years in college in order to develop their game.

While West and Barkley are focusing on negative aspects of young players drafted in the NBA, they are completely absolving the executives that are paid millions to evaluate and enhance the performance of the young players they bring into the league. In fact, there is no direct correlation between age and performance as demonstrated by many of the recent draft classes. When supporters of players being eligible to enter the NBA straight out of high school mention recent ‘One-and-done players’ who are successful in the NBA, the counter is to call them ‘exceptions.’

The reality is every NBA player is the exception. Additionally, there is little to show that players like Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, or John Wall needed to stay in school a second year in order to become good players in the NBA. However, there is no escaping the reality that there is always an abundance of players not quite good enough to excel at the highest level of basketball, regardless of how long they prepare before entering the league. A possible solution is changing the NBA draft to resemble the college draft rules of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are former number 1 overall picks that spent less than two years in college.

Anthony Davis (l) and Kyrie Irving (r) are former No. 1 overall picks who spent less than two years in college.

MLB’s draft rules allow players to declare for the draft straight out of high school but if the player elects to go to college he must stay for at least three years. The NBA should adopt that rule and amend it to two years in college. The NBA is the best place for players to improve their games.

“College coaches work more on masking a player’s weaknesses…rather than improving the player and risk losing in the process,” NBA trainer and ESPN insider David Thorpe said about the issue.

Thorpe’s assessment explains why so many players have several skills that need to be developed, even after spending years in college. If the NBA wants to improve its product then the new commissioner, Adam Silver, and his team needs to hold the million dollar executives who own and operate NBA teams accountable for better scouting and developing of the young players drafted in the NBA.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

March Madness continues to enrich many, just not the players

The NCAA showcases March Madness across four different stations.

The NCAA showcases March Madness across four different stations.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Conference tournaments in college basketball wrap up this weekend, followed by selection Sunday, then the eventual start of the NCAA tournament this coming week. Once the teams are selected, people can begin the tradition of filling out their brackets and hoping their bracket wins whichever pool they have entered.

The one-and-done format of the NCAA basketball tournament provides many intriguing outcomes, including upsets and close games, while also having the best college stars performing at their best. Ironically, while the college players are giving everything they have to win the tournament, everyone else involved in the tournament has a chance to get rich.

Warren Buffet (l) and Dan Gilbert (r) sponsor a promotion that will reward a lucky participant with one billion dollars for a perfect bracket.

Warren Buffet (l) and Dan Gilbert (r) sponsor a promotion that will reward a lucky participant with one billion dollars for a perfect bracket.

Warren Buffet and Dan Gilbert are offering a billion dollars this year for any person with a perfect bracket, who correctly predicts the winner in the NCAA tournament. Although it is unlikely that anyone will collect the prize, it is the largest prize ever offered for this tournament. But the casual fans aren’t the only ones that will cash in on March Madness, if one lucky fans do predict all the winners.

As usual, the NCAA will profit quite handsomely with their television deal and piqued interest this tournament produces. The expanded coverage now allows fans to watch every game across four different stations at once. The wider television coverage helps increase the chance fans can catch all the best moments the tournament has to offer.

While college basketball fans appreciate being able to see the game of their choice, it is still hard to escape the reality that the players who will generate millions of dollars are unable to earn from their own efforts. So another March Madness gets ready to begin but nothing changes for the players, who give their best, for nonexistent financial rewards. –OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Should collegiate athletes be classified as employees?

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter leads the effort to unionize college football players.

 

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Northwestern University football team took the initial steps to be recognized as a union on Tuesday January, 28 2014. That date may mark the end on the current structure of amateur athletics as we know it. The president of the National College Players Association (NCPA), Ramogi Huma, filed a petition on behalf of the Northwestern football players at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

NCPA President Ramogi Huma helps organize efforts to provide union protection for college players.

NCPA President Ramogi Huma helps to organize efforts to provide union protection for college players.

Numerous Northwestern players signed union cards that Huma also submitted to the NLRB on a day in which there was a press conference held to announce their intentions to have these college players recognized as employees. Huma is currently seeking to represent Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players and Division 1A college basketball players as be believes them to be “the strongest argument to be made” for players as employees at this time. The tenet the NCPA believes that qualifies players to be classified as employees is the 40 hours or more they must dedicate to their sport in order to receive their benefits (scholarship, room, and board).

Kain Colter, starting quarterback for Northwestern, has been front and center in this movement and was part of the press conference. Colter acknowledged that “many of us would probably have graduated by the time” this issue reached a resolution. Huma and Colter both mentioned that they are determined to endure the lengthy process it will likely take to reach their goal but they both stated the cause was well worth it. Colter was emphatic in supporting the notion stating, “to remain while players are denied justice would be complicit in inflicting injustice on future generations of collegiate athletes.”

Colter went on to explain that the three main goals they hope to achieve by unionizing. First, receiving medical protection for players while playing and in the future if they can prove the injury is a direct result of that sport. Second, academic trust funds for athletes as an incentive to improve the 50 percent graduation rate among those in FBS and Division 1A basketball. Third, an increase in the stipend players receive to defray additional costs. As Colter surmised, “players miss class regularly for sports but if a player with a 4.0 GPA misses games for academics, he’d lose his scholarship.”

NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy believes the NCAA has been fair in their compensation for student-athletes.

NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy believes the NCAA has been fair in their compensation for student-athletes.

In a statement released by NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy, the NCAA denied all of the claims made by the NCPA. Remy declared, “Student-athletes are not employees…their participation is completely voluntary.” Remy also maintained extreme confidence that any legal action would rule in the NCAA’s favor. The NCAA has been consistent in asserting that the benefits and educational possibilities players receive are adequate compensation for the athletic opportunities student-athletes experience.

While there are many people who do not believe the package college players receive is enough, there is a groundswell of support to extend the benefits these players receive as the NCAA continues to receive billions of dollars in revenue. The filing to the NLRB by Huma is the first step in a likely lengthy legal process. As ESPN business analyst Andrew Brandt mentioned on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, “The NCAA has legal precedent on its side and…it will take several years to conclude this matter.”

Regardless of the outcome of this matter, the discussion about the amateur status of collegiate players will rage on. This bold move by the NCPA may even inspire professional boxers, who lack a union as well, to recognize the importance of protecting athletes that help generate the billions of dollars in sports revenue yearly.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.