Once again I take laptop in hand to dissent from someone I agree with completely. I am on the record as thinking one-and-done has got to go but every time I read a standard-issue anti-one-and-done piece such as Michael Rosenberg’s I wonder if maybe I should reconsider.
From this day forward take everything you encounter on one-and-done and put it through the following two-pronged “Worth my time?” detector. If the piece emerges unscathed it’s safe to read.
Gasaway’s EZ Screening Device for a Robust and Non-Hacky Critique of One-and-Done:
1. David Stern is not Dr. Evil, Mr. Potter, Mr. Burns, or whomever your favored stock figure of malignant malevolence might be. If I read one more piece that weeps openly over the plight of poor one-and-dones banished to “dorms” because Stern is off somewhere laughing like The Penguin while rolling in large piles of cash I will give up the present endeavor entirely and start using points-per-game in one-sentence paragraphs. To recap: David Stern is a dull and rather colorless but demonstrably effective professional who is in the business of promoting his professional basketball league. That is his job. It’s better for the NBA if their rookies arrive as well-known stars. Conversely, I feel it’s better for college hoops if NBA-bound players get to the league without a needlessly illicit and potentially win-vacating detour through the college ranks. What’s good for the league is not necessarily good for college hoops. This is called conflict and it occurs naturally, even and indeed sometimes especially between people of good will. It is the warp and woof of existence. It is not the product of Stern hatching schemes in a hollowed-out volcano.
2. American higher education is not such a fragile and gossamer-like chalice that it can’t withstand some knocks from a few notably diffident “student-athletes.” If you want one-and-done gone, and I do, say that it will be good for the college game to have it gone. Do not imply ominously (“It contributes to the mockery of education that is major-college basketball”) that MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Chicago will all collapse into rubble by 2011 if one-and-done is not killed. She’s a tough old gal, this thing we call higher ed in this country. If it can survive a genuine outrage like the long and unfailingly sleazy arm of Rod Blagojevich wreaking havoc in the University of Illinois‘ admissions office, it can certainly withstand the nonexistent spring semesters of 12 to 20 would-be one-and-dones per annum.
Someone, please, do a spirited defense of one-and-done. I’ll disagree with it but it can’t be any more dispiriting than what “my” side is putting out.
Programming note: First live chat of the year Monday at noon ET. Get your questions in line ahead of time here. Y’all come!