Ever since I wrote the piece on a former punter suing the NCAA over transfer restrictions, I’ve been mulling over ideas on ways I’d change college sports if I were given unilateral power over the NCAA. I’m sure many of you have had similar thoughts & ideas, and I’m sure they range the gamut from thoughtful & progressive to asinine and wholly unreasonable. You’re in luck; my suggestions cover the same spectrum. (This is why we’re friends, our shared dysfunctional view of the world bonds us together like the Suicide Squad. Well, except our story makes sense. Paul still gets to wear Harley Quinn’s hot pants though. Nothing’s perfect.)
I’m going to break them down into the individual sports and cover changes both on and off the field. Let’s get to it, shall we? BWG COMMISSIONER POWERS ACTIVATE
- Draft eligibility is getting lowered by a year to 2 years out of high school, instead of 3. I have a wholly unverifiable belief that the number of players who are NFL-ready after 2 years is only going to increase over time, due in part to the evolution of high school S&C programs and in part to the game evolving away from a rugby game that happens to pass to a passing game that happens to run. This change will impact some positions more than others over time; you’re less likely to see offensive lineman jump after 2 seasons than wide receivers or cornerbacks. Still, every time I watch a player like Leonard Fournette, Myles Garrett, or KD Cannon, I have a hard time justifying them having to stick around a 3rd year. Let them go pro, they’re probably ready to make the leap.
- I was going to talk about increasing the draft grading process for underclassmen, but in the last week the NFL has decided to do something about that. So, huzzah for pragmatism.
- Scholarships are getting overhauled. The amount doesn’t change, but the structure of the scholarships will. There will be two varieties of football scholarship: a 1-year scholarship and a 4-year scholarship with a player opt-out at the 2-year mark. Further, the unused portion of the scholarships remain available for a decade after the player has exhausted his eligibility. This means a player who is awarded a 4-year ‘ship and goes pro after 2 years still has a chance to complete his or her education if their pro career doesn’t work out for whatever reason. It’s up to the coaching staff how they divide up the scholarships; if a coach wants a bunch of 4-year players and to help guarantee his kids get their degrees, he can use all 85 spots on 4-year scholarships. The coaches who talk about molding young men should flock to this. (You know, if they’re not full of shit.) If another coach wants to continue the system in place now, he can stick with 1-year scholarships.
- Players can get paid for their likeness and schools can put player names on their gear. Any revenue from their likeness is put into a low-risk trust fund run by an independent entity — friends & family can’t run it and/or ruin it — until they exhaust their eligibility. Once they’re done playing, the money is theirs to do with as they see fit.
- College coaches can no longer restrict a player from transferring to any school outside their conference. It’s dumb that if a kid from Alabama wants to go to Ohio State, Nick Saban can nix it. You’re their coaches, not their guardians; last I checked, coaches don’t have power of attorney over their players.
- I’m commandeering the Joe Paterno statue from the Penn State custodial shed where it resides and sending it to the shop for some alterations. The final product will be a ten-foot-tall animatronic statue consisting of both Paterno and Art Briles on their knees, their mechanically-assisted bronze heads and hands alternating time servicing the demon from ‘This is the End’ (NSFW) while a loudspeaker plays Art’s Rinaldi interview on a loop in the background. This statue will be placed in front of the stadium of whatever school hires Briles as their coach and will remain there as long as Art is employed by that university.
- No more clock stoppages after a first down. If college football games get any longer, they’ll be narrated by Ken Burns.
- No more facemasks. If you want to launch yourself into a defenseless player, you’re losing a couple of teeth in the process.
- Nick Saban will be forced to coach against all teams with only 4 offensive lineman on his roster. He’ll probably still win 10 games a year and another national title every half-decade, but it’ll be his own personal hell.
- The Texas boosters who said Saban was coming to UT have to buy every house in Austin his wife was rumored to visit.
- The NCAA rules committee will adopt the NFL definition of a catch. They will then print out the rule, strap it to a rocket, and fire the rocket into the sun because the NFL catch rule is trash and I have a secret love of performance art. Then we’ll go back to the old NCAA rule.
- I’m lowering the eligibility rule on NCAA basketball too, meaning players can go pro straight out of high school. As much as I hate the idea of missing out on a year of Kevin Durant or Myles Turner, there are plenty of examples of players who could skip college ball and be just fine. The only caveat to this is that I would work with the NBA on a process for the handful of high school hopefuls to get a thorough evaluation before declaring to cut down on kids who aren’t ready making a poor decision. Given when the NBA draft is, maybe let the kids declare, and if they don’t get drafted they can still enroll in a college. The timeline wouldn’t be a ton different than Jarrett Allen’s decision to join Texas, either.
- The scholarship situation I explained for football applies to basketball as well.
- The 3-point line is getting extended from 20.75 feet to the international standard of 22.15 feet. Why this wasn’t adopted as part of the changes to increase offensive flow is beyond me, but it’s an easy fix for anyone with a can of paint and a tape measure.
- No more halves, men’s basketball is going to quarters like the rest of basketball everywhere on the planet. This is the dumbest idiosyncrasy of this sport; nobody else uses halves. The women don’t use halves, the NBA doesn’t use halves, high school doesn’t use halves. Make it 4 10-minute quarters and be done with it.
- John Calipari can only spend three hours a week talking live/recruiting on ESPN shows, a 90% reduction from his current rate.
- Since the teams are getting another break due to the quarters, we’re removing a full timeout from the coach’s pocket. I like that most basketball games finish in 2 hours, let’s keep it that way as best as possible.
- Intentional fouls of the “hack-a” variety result in the fouled team getting to pick their free-throw shooter. Go ahead and hammer away on Prince Ibeh, we’re sending Javan Felix to the line in his place. That should keep the NCAA from turning into the NBA any time soon.
- Bob Huggins will have to wear a tuxedo to games.
- Every time a coach calls for a bunt, instead of bunting the coach has to walk over to a giant wheel and spin it to see the result. Interspersed between options like ‘home run’, ‘single’, or ‘batter out, runners advance’ will be other options like ‘side is retired’, ‘player bats with coach’s favorite putter’ and ‘lose use of school credit card for a week’.
- Disch = grass field
What changes do you want to make to the NCAA?