Ralph Nader has been a crusader for numerous causes particularly consumer protection, but it appears that he is shifting his focus to college athletics as he is set to announce a proposal banning all athletic scholarships and replacing them with need-based financial aid. The NCAA has understandably fired back saying that athletic scholarships are no different than other merit-based scholarships that other students can receive. Regardless of the outcome this should be an entertaining debate although we feel the NCAA will win this one in the end.
After Tennessee fired Bruce Pearl earlier this week there was a lot of speculation about potential replacements. Most of the the proposed candidates have been a bit of a stretch (Jamie Dixon, Jay Wright, etc.), but Jeff Pearlman has a suggestion for one candidate who would be somewhat outside the box while still being well within the box–Pat Summitt. We think it is extremely unlikely that the school would go in that direction and equally unlikely that Summitt would take the offer, but it is an intriguing possibility.
- Speaking of Tennessee, Mike Hamilton, the much-maligned Athletic Director, announced that the university would not be granting a release to recruits who signed a National Letter of Intent with the impression that they would be playing for Pearl. Instead, Hamilton has asked those recruits to speak with the new coach before he would consider letting them out of their NLIs. However, this does not mean that Hamilton will let them out of the NLIs if they meet the new coach and the recruit states afterwards that he does not want to go to Tennessee any more, which means that the recruit would have to sit out a year before being able to play for another school. The lesson here, for all recruits and people in general, is not to sign anything unless you absolutely have to sign it.
- Most college basketball fans have moved beyond the Enes Kanter situation and are focusing on the players that are allowed to suit up, but it seems like some of the media has not as someone asked John Calipari yesterday if his Kentucky team might look like Ohio State‘s if Kanter had been ruled eligible. Of course, Calipari deflected the question with the usual (I like the team I have, etc.), but it might end up being one of the “subplots” that the announcers focus on tonight particularly if Jared Sullinger has a big game.
- With the Sweet 16 getting underway last night and a number of notable seniors finishing their careers with each game it is worth considering whether some of the less talented ones will be playing competitive basketball again. For those that aren’t NBA material the decision comes down to whether or not they are willing to play abroad. Jon Jacques, who graduated from Cornell last year, decided to pursue his dream of playing professional basketball and offers some insight into the process that these players face.