In the past year, two high-profile SEC athletes, Nerlens Noel and Marcus Lattimore, have suffered season ending knee injuries. And the injuries have once again brought on heated debated about the age limits for both the NBA and the NFL. So much that some people are saying that Noel should sue the NCAA for potential lost wages. And the thing is, this is not some hackneyed diatribe fired off by a Kentucky fan that adores Noel and hates the NCAA. It comes from none other than the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi:
Hope NBA Commissioner David Stern, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and their elegantly suited minions are happy in their plush, palatial New York offices.
Their stupid, senseless, dumb and dictatorial rules may have just robbed two talented young athletes of their financial futures.
If I’m University of Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel and I never fully recover from a severe knee injury suffered earlier this week in a loss to the Florida Gators, I’d sue Stern, the NBA and the NBA Players Association for the $200 million Noel might have made in the course of his professional career.
Noel was projected by many to be the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but he went down in a heap at UF’s O’Connell Center Tuesday night, grabbing his knee and screaming in agony after landed awkwardly following a blocked shot.
Well, Stern ought to think long and hard about the inane one-and-done rule that forced Noel to play college basketball in the first place. It would be one thing if Noel had been hurt after signing a mega-million-dollar contract with the Magic, but it’s inexcusable that he has risked his future masquerading for one year as a college “student-athlete.”
While Bianchi’s opinion is in the minority, he makes some good points and even brings up the possibility that Jadeveon Clowney should sit out the upcoming season to prepare for the NFL rather than play and risk injury. Clowney has already proven himself to be a top five pick after just two seasons. Bianchi makes some other good points with a quote from former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy:
“I don’t understand how we can keep an 18-year-old from earning a living in his chosen profession,” former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy says. “I don’t even understand how it’s legal and not a violation of federal law. Kids can play hockey for money, baseball for money, work at McDonald’s, start their own business, but they can’t play NBA basketball. I don’t get it.”
After making some pretty severe comments on Saturday that some of his team members were “uncoachable”, John Calipari seems to have backed off of those words and has taken a softer tone after a trip to Mass:
But on Sunday, after Mass, he wrote, “I believe in this team if our players will compete and battle, which they have the ability to do. I’ll say this again: Confidence is from within. It’s developed through hard work and demonstrated performance during games. They have showed it in spurts this year, but no one is going to give us anything. We are going to have to earn it and fight for it, which I believe we can do.
Now the big question? Are all the reporters and media outlets who bashed Calipari for his comments now going to go back and point out that he has had a chance of heart … or are they just going to ignore it?
It has been said many times as that as Kentucky basketball goes, so goes the SEC. And after the disastrous week by the Wildcats, it seems that the rest of the conference is in a funk as well with Missouri and Ole Miss slumping. So some ask if the SEC could get just one bid to the NCAA Tournament? It appears unlikely, but is something to watch:
No power conference has sent just one team to the NCAA tournament since the field expanded to 64 in 1985. Barring a late-season collapse by Missouri, the Tigers (18-7) likely will give the SEC two tournament teams. But other tournament hopefuls have taken significant steps backward.