Wednesday, April 11, 2012

0 comments David Stern Is Just Being an Asshole Now

I'm not a big fan of David Stern. A full discussion on this issue is probably better suited for a different post where I can explain better. He seems like a man who believes he is more competent at his job than he truly is. He has vetoed NBA trades, let the Sonics leave Seattle, and is commissioner of a league where the players have all the power and can determine what personnel moves his team makes. He really believes he does a fantastic job and I'm not sure sure this is true. Mostly, Stern is still annoying me by taking a shit on the NCAA with the one-and-done rule and then asking the NCAA to clean up the mess.

I'm not going to deny the NCAA has problems and issues. I could probably spend 10,000 words describing them to you and you would already know what many of these issues are. As I have written repeatedly, the one-and-done rule is an NBA rule. It wasn't created by the NCAA nor does the NCAA like the rule. This doesn't stop Dictator Stern from giving suggestions on how the NCAA can work around the rule. NBA Dictator David Stern a few weeks ago decided to take shots at the NCAA concerning the one-and-done rule, as if this is something the NCAA needs to figure out and has nothing to do with him.

I'm not going to argue the NCAA shouldn't do more to figure out how to handle one-and-done players in terms of having them go to class and graduate. The NCAA needs to figure out how to better handle the one-and-done players, since this rule isn't going away completely anytime soon. Stern had smug and completely unrealistic ideas in a recent press conference for what the NCAA should do in order to help fix the problem the NBA has created. He's so damn smug for a guy who exercises his NBA dictatorial powers only when it is convenient for him to do so.

David Stern has some ideas about how to solve the problem of so-called “one and done” players at the college level — you know, guys who go to school for just one year simply because the NBA’s age limit makes it impossible to declare for the draft straight out of high school.

I'm not asking for David Stern to solve all of the NCAA's problems, but if he sees the one-and-done rule as some sort of a problem (which he seems to) then why can't he see the NBA's own culpability for part of the problem? I have a great idea about how to solve the one-and-done "problem." Let players come to the NBA straight after high school. Or, make the players stay in school for two years and then go to the NBA. There are solutions, but Dictator Stern chooses to be a dick about it and refuse to discuss any solutions outside of the one-and-done rule or making college athletes stay in school for two years and then go to the NBA. Much like what happened in the lockout, his inability to compromise is hurting a third party.

But they aren’t necessarily serious, and they aren’t necessarily ideas that the NCAA might want to hear.

Because the ideas suck and aren't really ideas, but snide comments Stern has made that aren't workable in reality. I would hope Stern wouldn't be such a smug asshole to the NCAA since it helps market future NBA players for the NBA. The NCAA puts these players on the radar to become more popular in the eyes of basketball fans prior to entering the NBA. How many people would know much about Anthony Davis if he didn't play at Kentucky this year? Not very many. The NBA doesn't want to lose the NCAA as a free marketing wing of the NBA, so they refuse to budge on the one-and-done rule.

He essentially put the onus on the schools for making sure the players keep their ends of the bargain where classes and scholarships are concerned.

So as opposed to putting the onus on the NBA owners and general managers to properly evaluate high school talent, Stern keeps the rule and forces the NCAA to adjust so the NBA can look better? He puts the onus on colleges to make sure students who have zero interest in attending class and participating in school, are attending class and participating in school. Dictator Stern is smart because he knows NBA owners and general managers are a generally incompetent bunch and won't be able to properly evaluate high school players and the NBA will get negative publicity if players come straight from high school and bust. Typical Dictator Stern. I know he is looking out for the NBA's best interests, but does he have to do it on the back of so many other people?

Granted, there are egregious examples of poor evaluation of college talent who aren't one-and-done. Hasheem Tha-bust and Jordan Hill are great examples of this. Both players were drafted too high and have struggled in the NBA. Teams are going to miss on talent and it happens in every sport. The issue is a public relations problem when the NBA has players come straight from high school and don't succeed in the NBA. Therefore the one-and-done rule was implemented in order for the NBA to say, "Hey look, this player went to college for a year. NOW he is mature enough for the NBA."

I favor players having to stay in college for two years, then going to the NBA, but I also realize this is unrealistic. While I think going to college for two years and learning significantly can help a player's overall game, I also understand this isn't necessarily fair to the student-athlete. There are certain players who are ready for the NBA after high school.

“A college could always not have players who are one and done,” Stern said.

That is absolutely true and some programs choose not to take on one-and-done players? Someone is going to end up taking these one-and-done players that other schools will choose not to recruit. David Stern knows this, so his simplistic solution won't work. It would not be in the best interest of the student-athlete if basketball programs banded together and said they would not recruit this specific person because he is going to be one-and-done. At that point, Stern and the NBA's one-and-done rule would possibly be denying this student-athlete even a year's worth of an education in college. It sounds easy to just say, "don't recruit these players," but it is much harder to do in practice.

“They could do that. They could actually require the players to go to classes.

How do you require John Wall to go to classes after he has declared for the draft on April 2? Take away the scholarship he isn't going to be using? Don't worry, Dictator Stern has a solution for this as well. This is a guy who can't resolve the NBA's issues sufficiently, but he certainly thinks he can fix the NCAA's problems.

“Or they could get the players to agree that they stay in school,

Good luck with that. If the intent is to have more high school players go overseas like Jeremy Tyler and Brandon Jennings, this would be the way to do it. I think it would be 100% easier just to get rid of the one-and-done rule, but I guess I'm not quite as smart as David Stern believes himself to be.

and ask for their scholarship money back if they didn’t fulfill their promises.

Haha! These kids, many of whom come from a background to where they couldn't afford college without a scholarship, are going to PAY BACK their scholarship for daring to pursue their goal of playing in the NBA? You think the NCAA is viewed as treating the players like unpaid employees now? Imagine if the NCAA essentially forced the students to work off their athletic scholarship or forced them to pay it back all because the NBA and Dictator Stern won't allow them to join the NBA out of high school. This idea simply won't work.

There’s all kinds of things that, if a bunch of people got together and really wanted to do it, instead of talk about it …”

Right, because a bunch of people should get together and really try to figure out a way to work around the inane one-and-done rule that the NBA has imposed on college basketball in order to make themselves look like they give a shit about their players. The easiest solution isn't to simply abolish the one-and-done rule and replace it with a better rule that isn't a restraint of trade, but for the NCAA to get together and "talk about it." Again, in his typical smug way David Stern is passing off the one-and-done rule as an NCAA problem, which it is, but only because he fails to recognize the NBA's culpability in creating this problem. Stern passes the buck to NCAA colleges because he doesn't want to deal with the issue of players coming to the NBA directly after high school. Yes, how to manage the one-and-done rule falls to NCAA colleges, but the NBA is creating the problem the NCAA has to manage.

But Stern was largely light-hearted in his suggestions, and talked bigger picture about young players whose primary goal is to secure a place in the NBA.

As long as he can be lighthearted about a serious subject, no big deal. It's all fun and games for Dictator Stern as long as we aren't talking about his brilliant guidance which has led to many NBA teams losing money. Of course Stern doesn't think that is his problem either nor does he believe it is a reflection on his leadership.

“Years ago, I said to the NCAA, I’ve got a great idea,” he said

The NCAA should institute a dress code for players?

The NCAA should randomly prevent players from transferring to certain colleges even though the college the player is transferring from has no issue with it?

The NCAA Tournament should last for two months until the average fan is simply tired of watching them?

These are all brilliant NBA idea that could translate to the NCAA!

‘We’ll insure a select group of basketball players. And that will make them more likely to stay in school, because they won’t feel the loss of a big contract.

But these players want to play in the NBA. This is the issue. The issue isn't whether Anthony Davis is concerned about losing a big contract or not, the issue is he wants that big contract RIGHT NOW while playing in the NBA.

We’ll designate a pool, and those that are lucky enough to be drafted and make money will pay us back, and those that don’t, it’s our expense.

I'd love to know how this select group of players would be chosen. David Stern doesn't tell us that. This doesn't sound like a bad idea, except for the fact the NCAA has players who want to go pro in different professional sports who want this same guarantee. I'm sure Title IX would have something to say about this policy as well. This is yet another simplistic solution from David Stern that is nearly impossible to institute.

The NCAA I think took it to a committee, that takes it to a census, that took it to a conference, then they have a congress and they came back to me and they said, well, it will only work under our rules if we do that for all sports. And I said, I don’t think that’ll work.”

I like how Stern mentions all the levels this idea had to pass through. It's weird not having a dictatorship in place, isn't it?

Yes, so this idea wouldn't work. It was not a bad idea, just not a workable idea.

But what would work, at least for the NBA, is a longer period of time to evaluate talent at the college level.

Because Dictator Stern views the NCAA as a free farm system for the NBA. In return for providing a free farm system, Stern provides the NCAA with the inane one-and-done rule.

“I agree with the NCAA that it would be great for us — I’m not concerned about NCAA, and our rules are not social programs,” Stern said.

But the rule is a social program. It causes high school basketball players who may want to go to the NBA to go overseas, play in the D-league or go to college for one year. It's intent isn't to be a social program, but in a few ways that is what it has become.

“We don’t think it’s appropriate for us to lecture kids as to whether they should or shouldn’t go to school.

And yet, that is exactly what the NBA is doing. They are saying, "We don't want you in the NBA immediately after high school, but wait one year and then you can come to the NBA. We're not saying you should or should not go to school, but we are saying you should not be in the NBA." Kids know their best chance for exposure is to play college basketball for a year, hence they go to school. I don't care what the intentions of the one-and-done rule are. That's irrelevant. What is relevant is the impact the one-and-done rule has on colleges and from what I understand it isn't a positive impact.

For our business purposes, the longer we can get to look at young men playing against first-rate competition, that’s a good thing.

I understand business. I get how the NBA views the NCAA, as a free farm system for future NBA talent. I do believe it is a bit unfair for the NBA to view the NCAA this way, but that's reality.

Because draft picks are very valuable things.

These aren't college athletes to David Stern, they are draft picks, which are "things."

For us, it’s one more year. We proposed to the players two more, and it was sufficiently contentious around that.

I know this is irrelevant, but have you asked your free farm system, the NCAA, what they want? Not that it matters of course. Getting kids to go to class is each specific college's problem, not David Stern's. He is comfortable with the one-and-done rule because it absolves him from much criticism and places the criticism on NCAA head coaches who dare to recruit a player who may want to stay in college for only one year.

We agreed, as all good negotiators do, we referred it to a sub-committee and we’re going to have meetings about it to see how that works out. “

More meetings is always the best solution. Fortunately David Stern has provided a resolution to this issue earlier in this press conference and he didn't even know it. Here's what David Stern could do to fix this issue...

What if you get a bunch of people together in one room, and you really wanted to resolve this issue, instead of talking about it...

Stern and Silver were careful to point out that they have an excellent relationship with NCAA president Mark Emmert, and again, even the shots came with big smiles and laughs all around.

It's just part of the smugness of David Stern. He can't help but smile at his good fortune. He rules like a dictator and has had quite a few controversies on his watch, and yet he seems to have a better reputation than every commissioner except Roger Goodell. So I can't blame him for pushing the one-and-done rule back on the NCAA. He'll get away with it.

I realize Stern has been commissioner for a while, but in the last fifteen years Stern has overseen two lockouts (both causing NBA games to be missed), a betting scandal among NBA officials that called into question the legitimate outcome of playoff games, and as of December Stern was overseeing the personnel moves of a team the NBA owns because the league still hasn't found an owner for that team. Just imagine if this happened in baseball. Imagine if Bud Selig has presided over two lockouts in the past 15 years and an umpire had been caught fixing playoff games. People, mostly Murray Chass, would be calling for his head and for Selig to immediately retire. After all, we are told to see Bud Selig as a bumbling idiot who doesn't really know what he is doing.

Dictator Stern still lives on though. What's irritating isn't that he is really incompetent, because he isn't incompetent, but his hubris makes you wonder what the hell he is so proud of. David Stern has helped bring the NBA to the point the players are more important than the owners and coaches to where one unhappy player can topple the direction of a franchise. He's presided over a league that has seemed to alienate many of those who became fans of the NBA during the 1980's and early 1990's, so Stern's response to this was to institute a dress code, which naturally fixed everything. Attendance is up...sort of and if people weren't so apathetic to the NBA, many would probably be wondering why the growth of the league has felt so stagnant.

I'm just ranting now.

But it’s clear that Stern believes the “one and done” problem is an NCAA-only issue,

That would be true...other than the fact the one-and-done rule is an NBA rule. I know, details, who needs them?

and it isn’t one that he seems to have any interest in helping to solve at any point in the immediate future.

Of course not. Stern is comfortable with using the one-and-done rule as a way of getting free marketing for future NBA stars, while not being concerned with how this rule affects the NCAA. The one-and-done rule is a good situation for the NBA. It prevents NBA scouting departments from having to do their job as well as they should have to do their job. I am personally not enamored with the one-and-done rule and can live with it to an extent, but as long as David Stern and the NBA Player's Union don't let high school basketball players go to the NBA directly from high school, then David Stern should stay away from making any more lighthearted or serious "suggestions" for the NCAA.