By Connor Buestad
This just in! USC pays its athletes to play at their school.
Ok, ok. We already knew this. I’m not trying to insult the intelligence of Bay Area college sports fans. We’ve already been through this with Pete Carroll’s monetary treatment of Reggie Bush, so I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that ‘SC basketball coach Tim Floyd paid O.J. Mayo to come play for him. (I knew there was a reason he didn’t go to North Carolina).
Anyway, Mr. Floyd resigned this week, citing a newfound lack of enthusiasm for his job. Scandals can really do a number on a guy’s enthusiasm, I guess.
Before I get ahead of myself and go off on an anti-USC rant, I would like to concede the point that corruption in major college sports is everywhere you look. Year after year, rumors regarding bended and broken rules keep popping up. And to be honest, it makes perfect sense. These programs bring in millions of dollars for the universities they represent. They do this by bringing the best players in the nation to their school and keeping them eligible, by almost any means necessary.
This brings me to my main topic of conversation, which is the NBA’s worst rule. This rule I speak of is the one that prevents high school seniors from skipping college and going straight to the NBA to collect the millions they rightfully deserve. Surely, this debate has run its course in the world of sports media, but really, it needs to change.
Turn on the NBA Finals and who do you see? Yes, you may see college superstars JJ Redick and Adam Morrison at the end of their respective benches. But what you also see is Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard leading the charge for their two teams. Or how about sharp shooter Rashard Lewis or Laker Center Andrew Bynum? All four of these starters skipped college and went straight to the NBA. And wouldn’t you know it, they are all smashing successes.
There is nothing that bothers me more than the following shallow argument, “Well Bob, what you’re forgetting is that for every LeBron James, there are a million kids who don’t make it.”
No shit! Who cares?
My answer to this lame argument is simple: look at the numbers. In today’s NBA, the two undisputed best players in the league, Kobe and LeBron skipped college and went straight to the pros. So did Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, Monta Ellis, the list goes on.
I love college basketball as much as the next guy. But let’s be honest. The next Kobe Bryant or Dwight Howard doesn’t belong on a college campus. He belongs in the NBA where he can earn the paycheck he deserves. O.J. Mayo, who currently plays in the NBA, likely has no interest in finishing his degree at USC. At best, he has ¼ of his degree completed. At worst, he left behind a trail of corruption that falls on the shoulders of USC and their former employee, Tim Floyd.