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Ranking the NCAA basketball commission’s bad recommendations

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There were so many. Where to begin.

Northwestern v Vanderbilt Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Commission on College Basketball shared their recommendations to fix the sport on Wednesday and needless to say, it was pretty underwhelming. The idea to get rid of the one-and-done rule was cool, despite the fact that the NCAA has no control over that. And players retaining eligibility if they go undrafted seems alright too. But the rest? Largely half-assed.

So which of the laundry list of bad ideas reigns supreme? We rank them all from worst to just mildly awful. Also, curiously, it seems they’ll be leaving the policing of reporters’ cups intact. Seems like a missed opportunity...

1. Freshman ineligibility

The best players in college basketball are regularly freshmen. Even with the one-and-done rule still in place, why would you do this? And why would you make this a bargaining chip since literally no one wants it? The NBA wants the one-and-done gone, and it likely will be soon. This seems like a nuclear option.

2. Scholarship “lock-up”

The lesser nuclear option presented if the NBA doesn’t repeal the one-and-done rule. This is still stupid, however, in that it penalizes teams for their players being good enough to go to the NBA. It creates a three- or four-year “dead” scholarship for departed one-and-done players that can’t be used on new talent. This makes absolutely no sense.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orange Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

3. Increase Level I violation penalties to include up to five-year postseason ban

There’s a reason the NCAA hasn’t used the death penalty on any program since SMU football in the 1980s. This would be very similar to a death penalty, no matter how successful or flush with cash a program is.

4. Restore credibility to the phrase “student-athlete”

This implies it ever had any, versus being a sub for unpaid labor.

5. Increase penalties for recruiting visit violations to allow full-year visit bans

It may not seem like it, since many high-profile programs that get into NCAA hot water are able to bounce back, but things like reduced scholarships and visits do negatively impact a program. Don’t know if we need more of this than we already have.

6. The “baseball rule”

They didn’t recommend this one, but seriously considered it, apparently. Still, they deemed it important enough that we hear it, so it gets grouped into this mess. Basically, it would mimic the college baseball system, which either has you go right to the pros out of high school or wait three years to be drafted. This seems similar to the scholarship lock-up. It would also signal to every kid with NBA aspirations that college basketball doesn’t care about those (or you) one iota. At least they understand the unintended consequences of this, and would rather foster an environment that welcomes players back to finish their education on their own terms.

7. NCAA-certified AAU teams and leagues

Imagine not being able to police your current member institutions, and then adding hundreds (maybe thousands) more to your ranks by way of putting yourself in charge of AAU-level basketball. This won’t work, even if the NBA gets involved, as is spelled out in the proposal.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-North Carolina vs Lipscomb Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

8. Individual accountability and contractual obligation to cooperate with NCAA

More hoops to jump through, that someone will ultimately figure out how to avoid. Plus, putting the NCAA even further into processes (like AD and coach contracts) that they have no business in as a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

9. Meaningful assessment of pro prospects with “certified agents”

They already have the ability to seek these assessments, by way of the recent rule change to allow players to declare without signing with professional representation. Players can now even go through the NBA scouting combine and wait a full 10 days before making that final decision. Who are these “certified agents?” Wouldn’t exposure to and evaluation from scouts be more important?

10. NCAA-led “certified agents” program

Oh, this is where you get the certified agents: from a program run by the NCAA, which can’t even keep its current house in order, so why not just add to the list of things it struggles to control. There’s a VP position in it for the poor soul that takes on this task.

11. Independent investigative and adjudicative arm

There’s already an enforcement investigations group within the NCAA’s walls, and they’re laughably bad at their jobs. The idea is this independent group would be paid, which is good. But not sure that adding even more watchdog process to the NCAA is helping anyone at this point. Giving them what sounds like absolute power around sanctions, fines and postseason bans also seems unnecessarily aggressive and more of a power grab to re-establish the NCAA from its toothless current state.

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Which of these poor ideas was your favorite? Chime in with your own picks below.