Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy didn’t hold back his opinions of the NCAA before his team’s game vs the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.
Van Gundy was asked about the FBI’s well-documented investigation into the recruiting practices of several top NCAA programs.
His response? About what you would expect.
“The NCAA is one of the worst organizations — maybe the worst organization — in sports,” Van Gundy told reporters. “They certainly don’t care about the athlete. They’re going to act like they’re appalled by all these things going on in college basketball. Please. It’s ridiculous, and it’s all coming down on the coaches.”
That’s in line with what most sports fans are feeling this week after the various reports about the FBI’s findings in a years-long investigation into programs like Duke, Louisville and Arizona.
But Van Gundy wasn’t finished. He also went on to criticize the one-and-done rule, and went as far as to call it “racist” when comparing it to similar rules in baseball and hockey. Of the three sports, basketball is the only one that doesn’t let high school players jump straight to the professional ranks in the United States.
“People that were against (players) coming out (of high school) made a lot of excuses, but I think a lot of it was racist. I’ve never heard anybody go up in arms about (minor league baseball or hockey),” Van Gundy told reporters. “They are not making big money, and they’re white kids primarily and nobody has a problem.
“But all of a sudden you’ve got a black kid that wants to come out of high school and make millions. That’s a bad decision, but bypassing college to go play for $800 a month in minor league baseball? That’s a fine decision? What the hell is going on?”
Van Gundy’s point is an interesting one, and a point that hasn’t been brought up all that often in the ongoing one-and-done debates. It’s possible the NCAA’s troubles with the FBI will cause more players to seek professional teams directly out of high school.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has alluded to the possibility of reforming the draft, but there are plenty of factors to consider for both the NCAA and the NBA.
“I think the question for the league is, in terms of their ultimate success, are we better off intersecting with them a little bit younger,” Silver told reporters at NBA All-Star weekend. “Are we better off bringing them into the league when they’re 18, using our G-League as it was designed to be as a development league, and getting them minutes on the court there. And there’s also the recognition that for some of these elite players, there’s no question that they could perform in the NBA at 18 years old.”
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