Existing Eligibility Rules Make No Sense

A high school senior can declare for the NBA Draft, but a junior can’t.

A high schooler who declares for the pros can’t change his mind and go to college instead, but a collegiate undergrad can.

That is, if he hasn’t signed with an agent and he officially withdraws from the Draft one week before the event takes place.

Or, he can stay in the Draft, not get drafted, but still return to college if he files the paperwork within 30 days.

And if his school hasn’t used his scholarship on someone else in the meantime.

If you understand these rules regarding NCAA basketball eligibility, you no doubt work for the IRS.

As for me, my head hasn’t spun that much since the first time I tried a straight shot of Jack Daniels.

And now that the NCAA management council passed a bit of legislation one week ago proposing that a high schooler can enter the Draft, get drafted by a team, but still go play college ball for a year (provided, of course, he doesn’t sign a contract with an agent or the team, because god knows you can never have too many caveats or exceptions), I think I could use a few more belts of the ol’ Kentucky battery acid?just to settle the stomach.

It sure as hell isn’t to clear the mind, because no amount of alcohol-induced mental clarity (and trust me, as all my fellow lushes can attest, mental clarity is always at its highest when induced by massive quantities of booze) could enable me to divine exactly what those NCAA clones are thinking.

Their rules are already so arcane and arbitrary that adding one more convoluted, misguided tidbit theoretically shouldn’t be able to screw things up too much.

But that doesn’t stop them from trying.

What sense does it make to allow a drafted high schooler or a non-drafted collegian to go (back) to college, but to deny the same privilege to a non-drafted high schooler?

Now, it might just be my own twisted, perverted mindset, but it seems to me that non drafted high schoolers might be the ones most in need of a chance to play college ball.

After all, their drafted HS counterparts have a pro career to fall back on. Their non-drafted collegiate colleagues most usually still have a scholarship ready and waiting for them.

But for these poor schmucks, the NCAA and NBA take the hard line and try to impress upon them the value of and need for attending college by telling them that they can’t play there.

Ever.

Just because they tried and failed to go straight to the pros.

If such backwards thinking is contagious, these hoops officials’ best friends undoubtedly used to work as accountants for Arthur Andersen.

While we’re at it, why don’t we make Medicaid available only to million-dollar health insurance policy-holders, restrict soup kitchen food to those who weigh at least 300 pounds, and allow only residents of Bel Air and Beverly Hills to stay in homeless shelters?

If the NCAA’s Board of Directors has even the slightest bit of common sense or brain activity among its members (which, admittedly, is about as likely as Prince Charles replacing Kurt Cobain in a reconfigured Nirvana lineup), it will reject this latest bit of nonsense.

And follow that up by using the existing NCAA rule book as kindling for the biggest s’mores-and-weenie-roast bonfire this side of Waco.

It’s really not that complicated when you’re not dumb (and when you don’t spend your days trying to concoct rules and regulations messier than Monica’s blue dress)?

You let anyone apply for the Draft who wants to. High school seniors, high school juniors, high school janitors?even high school sloppy-joe-slinging lunch ladies if they so desire.

If they get drafted, they become professionals and, consequently, lose their amateur status and can’t go to college. If they don’t get drafted, they can go to any institution of higher education that will have them, from Harvard to the Helena State Polytechnic Institute of Blind Sheep Humping.

Simple, eh?

Now where’d that Jack go?

Eric welcomes feedback at: [email protected].