It is all about having choices.
Penny Hardaway, who is the coach of the NCAA’s University of Memphis basketball team, is upset with his former employers, the National Basketball Association. The NBA’s G League has picked off some blue-chip graduating high school players by offering big contracts in competition for those athletes with college programs and scholarships. In some sense of irony, Hardaway was one of the stars of a 1994 movie Blue Chips which addressed the NCAA’s so-called problem of paying high school players under the table to go to a school to improve a basketball program. The NCAA’s problem is this. Don’t pay players. Instead give the players a scholarship with the hope that the players go to classes and get a degree. Keep the façade of the student-athlete playing the game he or she loves for the glory of the school with the school making money off of the backs of the athletes.
Hardaway doesn’t understand why he and other college coaches have to compete for the top players who graduated high school. “I didn’t think the G-League was built, and I could be wrong, to go and recruit kids that want to go to college out of going to college, I thought they were going to be the organization that was going to be, if you want to go overseas or you absolutely did not want to play college 100 percent, that this would be the best situation for you before you go into the NBA. But taking guys out of their commitments, they’ve already signed, and continuing to talk to their parents, it’s almost like tampering. I really don’t agree with that.” The Kentucky coach John Calipari sided with Hardaway and there must be other coaches who feel the same way. The G League signed the players who will get paid and play for a year in the league instead of college before they head off to the NBA for a year. Money talks.