Thursday, March 22, 2007

Holla At A Playa...Or We'll Come to You

Despite the midst of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the focus has shifted from who’s in the Sweet 16 to who will return next year. The attention drawn by Ohio State University’s Greg Oden and Texas forward Kevin Durant has landed several basketball executives in hot water…actually just a slap on the wrist. From Michael Jordan, Danny Ainge to Don Nelson, they all have been slapped with a fine of between $15-30,000. I’d say that is a small cost to say, “hey Kevin Durant, we want you here.”

Of course all this would not have been necessary if the National Basketball Association did not impose a requirement that requires you to be 19 year old or one year removed from high school.

Maybe the hope was to send them to college for at least one year and hope that the college coaches and professors would be able to convince those student athletes to stay in school longer. But regardless, how could you turn down millions of dollars to say I need to go to school? And then say I should go to school for four years and get a diploma but risk getting injured, which could lead me to never make millions.

The real hope was not to hope for better education for the blue chip stars, it was just so the NBA can appease the naysayer of high school All-Americans going straight to the pros. The sudden increase in blue-chip talent has elite programs using and losing great talent in less than 2 years. What does that mean for the rest of the teams? The verdict isn’t in yet. But while elite teams substitute All-Americans from year to year, other schools are losing out on the opportunity to land quality talent. Well, everyone except USC. O.J. Mayo’s representation insisted that he play at USC. Coach Tim Floyd wasn’t even thinking about the most coveted player in the nation but Mayo’s desire to become legendary as a player and make connections to launch his “famous career” at USC a reality.

How different would PR look if we had straight from high school talent? It wouldn’t work but maybe in a few years when social media gives these kids all sorts of talents that PR firms will need, that may be a different story.

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