Wednesday December 12th, 2018 11:00PM

Plenty of opinions, but few solutions to fix college hoops

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

The cracked facade of NCAA hoops appears to be crumbling and while LeBron James, John Calipari and many agree that college basketball should be overhauled, there's no consensus on how to repair the system.

A federal investigation has alleged hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks being funneled to influence recruits, an FBI probe that many fans believe reveals just a tiny slice of potential corruption in college sports.

In September, the Justice Department arrested 10 people, including four assistant coaches from Arizona, Southern California, Auburn and Oklahoma State. Payments of up to $150,000, supplied by Adidas, were promised to at least three top high school recruits to attend two schools sponsored by the shoe company, according to federal prosecutors.

A report last week by Yahoo! Sports revealed documents showing dozens of prominent players, coaches and schools could be involved in — while likely not criminal behavior — breaking NCAA rules. All this looms over college basketball as March begins, the month when championship tournaments and brackets take center stage across America. The cash cow of college sports that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to the NCAA annually.

The NCAA has already announced the formation of the commission on college basketball , headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to recommend changes.

"I don't know if there's any fixing the NCAA. I don't think there is," said James, who never played in college, jumping from high school to the NBA at a time when that had not yet been prohibited by the league.

"The NCAA is corrupt — we know that," the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar said.

Fingers point in several directions about the reasons for the problems, including the NCAA itself, the age limit to enter the NBA, paying college athletes. Here is a more in depth look at some of them:



CURRENTLY: The most common misconception about college sports' governing body is that it is an independent organization that governors the schools. The NCAA is a voluntary association of the schools and that membership ultimately determines the rules — like what payments to an athlete or his family members are allowable. NCAA President Mark Emmert is the face and voice of the association, but — unlike a commissioner of a professional league — he has very limited power beyond being a potential catalyst for change. Or protector of the status quo.

THE TALK: There are 351 schools that play Division I basketball from powerhouse Kentucky to tiny St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. Priorities range far and wide and what an Atlantic Coast Conference school sees as a potential fix to the system, an Atlantic Sun school could see as a threat to what little competitive balance exists in D-I. The result is: Many of the potential remedies floated for corruption in college sports don't actually involve NCAA changes.



CURRENTLY: The NBA instituted a rule 12 years ago that prohibited players from entering the draft before they were at least 19 and a year removed from high school. The NCAA has no control over this rule. The NFL rule — which requires players be three years removed from high school — is also problematic, but high school aged football players are not generally as close as basketball players to being pro-ready.

THE TALK: There is much buzz about change. One option would be to let pro-ready high school seniors enter the NBA draft and make players who chose to attend college stay at least two years. The rule only impacts the top players. Since 2006, 66 one-and-done players have been NBA draft lottery picks — and that's after a record 11 in last year's draft.

And while age is a hot-button issue, several players who played two or more college seasons were listed in probe documents as potentially accepting impermissible payments, according to Yahoo.

When Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy slammed the NCAA recently as "maybe the worst organization in sports," he pivoted to point blame at the league where he works, even suggesting the one-and-done rule was racist in how it limits black athletes.

"I don't get it. You can get out of high school, you can turn 18, let's say, and go to work anywhere else," Van Gundy said.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during the recent All-Star break his league is "conflicted" about one-and-done. The players' union and teams both benefit from players using a year of college to develop skills, mature and grow name recognition before they enter the NBA and start pressuring veteran players.



CURRENTLY: The NBA and NFL essentially set up college sports to be a de facto farm system for professional teams and the people who defend college sports want no part of that.

THE TALK: James said the NBA should explore expanding its developmental G League to make it more like major league baseball's farm systems. He also wondered why the United States does not have an athlete development model more like what exists in Europe, where elite soccer players, for example, can get professional development outside of higher education.

"We have to figure out a way that we can shore up our farm league and if kids feel like they don't want to be a part of that NCAA program, then we have something here for them to be able to jump back on and not have to worry about going overseas," said James, who said he wants to meet with Silver to discuss his ideas.



CURRENTLY: Nixing the one-and-done rule would still leave some college players with value to agents, coaches and shoe companies. And the NCAA has no means to compensate players at full value. But facing pressure from antitrust lawsuits, NCAA schools changed rules in 2015 to allow athletic scholarships to include a cost-of-attendance stipend. Those payments range from about $2,000 to $5,000 per year.

THE TALK: Paying athletes akin to a salary is nonstarter for those in college sports. It goes against the notion that athletics is part of the educational experience. Hence, the term student-athlete. From a practical standpoint it is problematic because of tax issues and federal Title IX requirements. More importantly, schools could never pay an elite athlete enough to eliminate the potential for corruption.

"Whatever you pay them, there's somebody who can pay them more, the guys that they think will be pro prospects, because when they leave, they become a very hot commodity," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said.



CURRENTLY: The NCAA not only doesn't allow schools to pay players beyond the value of a scholarship, but also prohibits others from paying athletes for being athletes. This could be where a realistic solution lies. A federal judge ruled in 2014 the NCAA used the names, images and likenesses for athletes for years without proper compensation for things such as video games and merchandise.

THE TALK: "There may be something similar to the Olympic model," Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It used to be the Olympians couldn't make a dime. Now you see Michael Phelps or Lindsay Vonn in commercials. They're still in the Olympics. Still doing great. People loved the Olympics. So, there's a way."



CURRENTLY: The NCAA's five wealthiest conferences — the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference — recently passed legislation allowing college hockey players to be represented by an agent before entering school. Similar allowances were already available to baseball players. In both those sports, major professional leagues draft high schoolers.

THE TALK: If the NCAA allowed athletes to have financial agreements and business dealings with agents and companies that wanted to capitalize on their fame and long-term earning potential, the current scandal might not be a scandal at all.

Calipari, whose Kentucky program has embraced and thrived with a foundation of NBA-bound players, said the NCAA needs to consider some way to provide advisers to basketball players. And as for providing money, the coach suggested the NBA Players' Association as a possible solution.

"Let their family get a loan from the Players Association," Calipari said. "What's the problem? For travel to the games in the NCAA Tournament and everything."

It would require a seismic shift in how the NCAA has long defined amateurism.

What used to be cheating would no longer be cheating.


AP Sports Writers Tom Withers in Cleveland, Janie McCauley in Oakland, California, Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, Gary B. Graves in Lexington, Kentucky, and Associated Press freelance writer Jodie Valade in Charlotte, North Carolina, contributed to this report.


For more AP college basketball coverage: and

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, College Sports, AP Business, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball, AP Sports - NFL, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2018
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Plenty of opinions, but few solutions to fix college hoops
The cracked facade of college basketball appears to be crumbling but there are few well-thought out ideas among the shouts to blow up a failing system: Get rid of one-and-done
2:47AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Afghan president calls on Taliban to join in peace talks
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani calls on the Taliban to take part in peace talks to "save the country"
2:46AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Victims group shuns Indonesia attacks reconciliation event
One of the main Indonesian groups for survivors of terror attacks has refused to participate in what it says is a flawed government-organized "reconciliation" meeting between former Islamic militants and victims
2:44AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Florida school tragedy leaves profound effect on Dwyane Wade
School shooting victim Joaquin Oliver was buried in a jersey bearing Dwyane Wade's name, and the Heat star was deeply moved
2:12AM ( 46 minutes ago )
Spring training roundup: Napoli joins Indians, others wait
Tuesday's spring training roundup
1:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Staal's hat trick leads surging Wild past slumping Blues 8-3
Eric Staal had three goals and two assists to combine with linemates Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker for 14 points and propel the surging Minnesota Wild to an 8-3 victory over St. Louis
12:09AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Jim Thome fights back tears during Hall of Fame visit
Former Cleveland Indians slugger Jim Thome fights back tears after touring the Baseball Hall of Fame in preparation for his induction in July
4:43PM ( 10 hours ago )
Hernandez hurting but Mariners fortunate no major injury
During a spring training that's been filled with small nagging injuries the Seattle Mariners believe they caught a fortunate break after Felix Hernandez took a line drive off his right arm
11:01AM ( 15 hours ago )
Spring training roundup: Mariners ace Hernandez hit by liner
Monday's spring training roundup
2:45AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Baseball
Michigan State, Big Ten take Midwest hoops show to Big Apple
The Big Ten Tournament begins Wednesday, one week earlier than usual at a rather unusual venue: Madison Square Garden in New York
1:40PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP source: NFL seeking $2M from Jerry Jones over legal spats
AP source: NFL exploring options to get more than $2 million in reimbursement for legal fees from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
11:12PM ( 1 day ago )
Former Arizona coach claims extortion by former assistant
Ex-Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez calls sex-harassment claim extortion, 'sensationalized tale'
5:40PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Court: Nike logo of Michael Jordan didn't violate copyright
A U.S. appeals court says an iconic Nike logo of a leaping Michael Jordan didn't violate the copyright of an earlier photograph of the basketball star
5:30PM ( 9 hours ago )
LeBron flattered by Philly fans' free-agency fawning
LeBron James says he's flattered by three billboard ads by a Philadelphia company fawning for him
4:48PM ( 10 hours ago )
Cavaliers ban fan who aimed racial taunts at Spurs' Mills
Cavaliers ban fan who yelled racial taunts at San Antonio guard Patty Mills
1:32PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
GOP winner of Arizona primary expected to win US House seat
The Republican victor of a special primary election to replace a disgraced Arizona congressman is the immediate favorite to win the U.S. House seat vacated by former Rep. Trent Franks
2:10AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Students wary, hopeful, on return to site of school shooting
Students returning to the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people are both wary and hopeful
1:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
White House downgrades Kushner's security clearance
Kushner's downgraded security clearance sets off speculation about his future at the White House
1:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
GOP leaders move slowly on tighter gun laws
House Speaker Paul Ryan shows little interest in swift moves on guns, leaving it up to the Senate and President Donald Trump to push for a plan
12:16AM ( 2 hours ago )
Judge sides with Trump on challenge to Mexico border wall
A federal judge in San Diego who was taunted by Donald Trump during the presidential campaign has sided with the president on a challenge to building a border wall with Mexico
11:54PM ( 3 hours ago )
Hope Hicks declines to answer some questions in Russia probe
President Donald Trump's longtime aide Hope Hicks has declined to answer questions about her time in the White House
11:11PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Nassar victims help unveil sweeping child abuse legislation
Education Department opens investigation into how Michigan State University handled reports allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Larry Nassar.
11:50PM ( 1 day ago )
Clarke's tip-in helps Hokies stun No. 5 Duke, 64-63
Chris Clarke tipped in a missed shot with 4 seconds remaining, and Virginia Tech stunned No. 5 Duke 64-63
10:42PM ( 1 day ago )
Agents search Iowa AAU coach's cabin in nude videos case
Investigators have seized a trove of electronic devices from a northeastern Iowa cabin owned by a prominent youth basketball coach under investigation for allegedly making videos of naked boys
4:19PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Papua New Guinea quake killed at least 15, governor says
A powerful earthquake two days ago killed at least 15 people, injured dozens and brought work to a halt at four oil and gas fields in a remote Papua New Guinea region, the local governor says
1:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
Sridevi mourned by Bollywood fans outside Mumbai home
Grieving fans have gathered outside the Mumbai home of Sridevi, the iconic Bollywood actress, who accidentally drowned in a Dubai hotel bathtub over the weekend
12:47AM ( 2 hours ago )
Milkman accused of sneaking drugs, phones into Ohio prison
A milk deliveryman is accused of hiding marijuana, tobacco and cellphones inside milk cartons and smuggling them into an Ohio prison
12:17AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
3-team trade sends Drury to Yankees, Souza to Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks have sent infielder Brandon Drury to the New York Yankees and received outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-team trade that includes five players plus two to be named later.
10:16PM ( 1 week ago )
Hosmer joins Padres, wears number of late teammate Ventura
Eric Hosmer has joined the San Diego Padres, and will wear a jersey number to honor late Kansas City teammate Yordano Ventura
4:30PM ( 1 week ago )
Rangers give 44-year-old Bartolo Colon a minor league deal
Bartolo Colon has agreed to a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, and the 44-year-old right-hander will attend big league spring training.
3:18PM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week
NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week
2:10PM ( 4 days ago )
10 Things to Know for Friday
Among 10 Things to Know: Florida sheriff's deputy never entered school during shooting, students endure troll attacks, Missouri governor indicted
12:23AM ( 5 days ago )
Eagles center Kelce plays sax with high school jazz band
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, who got attention for his impassioned and profane speech after the team's Super Bowl parade, is now communicating through music
1:15PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
No. 2 Michigan State beats Wisconsin, wraps up Big Ten
Cassius Winston scored 20 points and went 6 for 6 from the 3-point line, and No. 2 Michigan State held off Wisconsin 68-63 to earn the outright regular-season Big Ten title
3:40PM ( 2 days ago )
Arizona's Miller out against Oregon following wiretap report
Arizona coach Sean Miller sat out against Oregon, a day after ESPN, citing anonymous sources, reported he was heard on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to current Wildcats freshman Deandre Ayton
2:39AM ( 3 days ago )
With hoops under federal probe, fans say business as usual
With hoops under federal probe, fans say business as usual
12:29AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Cuban mostly mum as Mavericks hire CEO amid workplace issues
Cuban mostly mum as Mavericks hire CEO amid workplace issues
9:49PM ( 1 day ago )
Mavs hire former AT&T exec after report of hostile workplace
The Dallas Mavericks have hired former AT&T executive Cynthia Marshall as interim CEO a week after allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace
6:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Popovich praises LeBron's courage to speak on social issues
Spurs coach Popovich defends LeBron's activism and courage to speak out on social issues.
7:28PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Afghan president calls on Taliban to join in peace talks
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani calls on the Taliban to take part in peace talks to "save the country"
2:46AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Victims group shuns Indonesia attacks reconciliation event
One of the main Indonesian groups for survivors of terror attacks has refused to participate in what it says is a flawed government-organized "reconciliation" meeting between former Islamic militants and victims
2:44AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Popular Alaska peak weighs new rules for climbers' poop
The National Park Service is considering new rules for the disposal of human waste generated by climbers on North America's tallest mountain, Denali
2:40AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Asian shares fall after US Fed chief says he's optimistic
Asian shares fall in subdued trading after the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve said that he's feeling more optimistic about the economy
2:25AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Bollywood legend Sridevi mourned by fans in Mumbai
Thousands of grieving fans have gathered in Mumbai to pay respects to Sridevi, the iconic Bollywood actress who drowned accidentally in a Dubai hotel bathtub over the weekend
2:21AM ( 36 minutes ago )