Stern Says D-League Provides Better Education than NCAA

Published on 13-Oct-2013 by J Square Humboldt
Basketball - NBA / NBA Daily Update

The NBA's service after the sale.

It seems David Stern and Jim Delany are on the same page.

The Big Ten poobah says if an 18-year-old athlete aspires to go pro as soon as he can, he should do it.

The NBA don agrees, even though the minimum age to enter the NBA is 19.

With pride, Stern points to the National Basketball Development League -- D-League, for short -- as an ideal training ground for 18s who see the NBA in their future. But Stern being Stern, he couldn't resist the opportunity to take a shot at Delany and the NCAA.

In a Houston Chronicle interview, the ersatz emperor of hoops claimed that the D-League "will do a better job of educating players than the college programs" where they currently are.

And for those in attendance who didn't pick up that he was sticking the knife into the NCAA corpus, he added the coda, "Take that."

Proof, once again, that the focal point in the pay-for-play issue in college sports isn't about the players. It's about the power brokers.

Yes, the D-League is a good idea. Yes, it should expand so every NBA team has an affiliate. Precedent from other sports exists in abundance that minor league franchises can make money.

But first and foremost, if the NBA commish is endorsing the concept of 18s having a pro option in the USA -- as opposed to Europe, where salaries can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million -- then the D-League had best boost its salary structure, and like MLB and the NHL franchises do with their minor league affiliates, the NBA clubs had best chip in.

$50,000-$60,000 per player would be a drop in the bucket to the NBA. Right now, D-League salaries flirt with the poverty level as established by the United States government.

In contrast, there is sufficient empirical data to strongly indicate that the annual value of an NCAA Division I hoops scholarship is $120,000. And that's without even considering a pay-for-play provision.

It goes without saying that many 18-year-olds are less than adept at making life-changing decisions, especially those who believe they have an immediate chance to follow their dreams. It should also go without saying that the caretakers of those dreams should offer them equitable choices instead of taking potshots at each other.

And that should go double for the dude whose operations have for decades harvested bushels of talent from the college ranks at no cost. But so far, the only doubling being done is the benefits a college ride offers compared to his preciously parsimonious vocational training program.

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