Bost Isn’t Lost, Will Play Partial SeasonPosted by jstevrtc on September 29th, 2010
The NCAA has reinstated Dee Bost back to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a move that has surprised almost every follower of college basketball.
Bost, who averaged 13.0 PPG and 5.2 APG in 2009-10 — submitted his name into the NBA Draft after last season, then decided to return to college after he realized that he was unlikely to be drafted in either of the draft’s two rounds. He then missed the withdrawal date by less than a day, using a defense of “I didn’t know,” meaning he wasn’t aware that the NCAA had moved the draft-withdrawal deadline up by a week to May 8th, effectively giving early-entry prospects a mere one week (sort of limits the number of workouts a kid can schedule, eh?) to make the decision to jump to the NBA or stay in school. He also claimed lack of knowledge of a new NCAA rule that prohibits collegians from declaring for the draft but then returning to school if they weren’t picked. The old rule that allowed this doesn’t exist anymore.
In our view, the NCAA has set a very interesting precedent here, and is acknowledging that the moving up of that draft-withdrawal deadline isn’t in the best interest of student-athletes.
The whole point of college is to get you ready for the “real world” with knowledge from books and lectures and, often more importantly, knowledge that comes from a certain level of maturity that college demands. Yes, college is also a time for having fun, and you’re allowed as much fun and even immaturity as you can handle while still performing well enough academically. Lord knows most of us tested and strained those boundaries at various times. But, above all else, you’re there to get an education. Part of the maturity that college life demands is that one must learn the concept that deadlines aren’t guidelines. Try telling one of your professors that you “didn’t know” when that paper was due, and most professors will use that as a teaching moment to force you to grow up a little. Did you send your tax return to the IRS too late and fail to ask for an extension because you didn’t now when the deadline was? Too bad, now you’re screwed. Register too late for the SAT? You’re not taking that test. And (ideally, at least) in college it’s not supposed to matter any more if your parents know somebody or you’re an athlete or you’re popular — at least it’s supposed to matter less in college than it does in high school. That’s why your local paper lists (or used to list) high school scores under a heading of “Boys’ Scores” and college recaps under “Men’s NCAA.” You’re a man now, and you need to learn that rules are rules, and deadlines aren’t guidelines.
On the other hand, the very deadline that Bost claims not to have known about is a terrible rule. With just one week to both declare for and withdraw from the NBA Draft, there’s no way a kid can schedule workouts and interviews with NBA teams. By the time the withdrawal date rolls around, they can’t know any more about their NBA-readiness and draft status than they did when they declared for it. By establishing this rule, the NCAA ensures that players will make a rather big life decision based on emotion and lack of information rather than reason and self-awareness. Bost’s “didn’t know” defense isn’t really plausible, but by using it he further exposed the worthlessness of the NCAA’s rule. It’s tough to penalize a player for lack of knowledge when the very rules you’re making decrease the amount of knowledge a player can have. And on a more selfish note, we like watching Dee Bost play. He’s a scoring point guard who might break the school’s assist record. With Ravern Johnson (who also declared for the draft, but had no problem making that May 8th withdrawal deadline on time) and Renardo Sidney alongside him, he makes his team and indeed the whole SEC a lot more interesting.
By reinstating Bost, the NCAA has validated the “I didn’t know” defense, though, and they can expect a steady diet of it on many issues from now on. It also would seemingly lay to rest any further mention of the question regarding the NCAA’s interest in who paid for Bost to go to Las Vegas and work with a trainer, a question that no less than ESPN’s Andy Katz had recently claimed to be holding up the Bost decision.
For Bost, it may seem like the waiting is over, but it’s also just beginning. He happens to be academically ineligible for the 2010-11 season’s first semester, so after he sits that one out, assuming he gets his grades in order, he’ll be back after the term ends in early December. Then, he’ll serve a nine-game penalty for “failure to withdraw properly” from the NBA Draft. That’s a lot of basketball to miss, but it won’t keep him from being fully ingrained into his team for the meat of the conference schedule and, more importantly, for tournament time.