Head coach and president of the Detroit Pistons Stan Van Gundy has never shied away from speaking his mind, so it comes has no surprise he’s got some strong thoughts on the NCAA’s recent wiretap dumb or the NBA’s much-maligned one-and-done rule.
Van Gundy was recently asked to comment on the recent reports that identify high school and college players who accepted paid kickbacks and loans from agents, some of which were brokered by head coaches. The strength of his response did not disappoint, per the Detroit Free Press‘ Vince Ellis:
“The NCAA is one of the worst organizations — maybe the worst organization — in sports,” Van Gundy said. “They certainly don’t care about the athlete. They’re going to act like they’re appalled by all these things going on in college basketball. Please, it’s ridiculous and it’s all coming down on the coaches.”
College basketball is a multi-billion dollar industry. And their revenue reach will only grow if, as expected, sportsbetting eventually becomes legalized. The players, as such, should be paid. End of story. That shouldn’t be up for debate. Simply compensating them with a scholarship and suboptimal living stipends doesn’t cut it—not when schools are turning monstrous profits by capitalizing on their play and likenesses.
The method of compensation is, of course, another issue altogether. Should the schools pay them directly? Should players simply be allowed to accept endorsements from both agents and big corporations? What does this mean for lower-level contributors, who aren’t as valuable to the game’s bottom line?
Those topics need to be addressed, especially if the schools end up paying players out of pocket. But they are solvable. Every NBA player, after all, doesn’t make the same amount of money. Something can, and should, be done.
Meanwhile, on the subject of the NBA’s one-and-done rule, Van Gundy had this to say, per Ellis:
“People that were against (players) coming out (of high school) made a lot of excuses, but I think a lot of it was racist. I’ve never heard anybody go up in arms about (minor-league baseball or hockey),” Van Gundy said. “They are not making big money and they’re white kids primarily and nobody has a problem.”
“But all of a sudden you’ve got a black kid that wants to come out of high school and make millions. That’s a bad decision, but bypassing college to go play for $800 a month in minor-league baseball? That’s a fine decision? What the hell is going on?”