The NCAA today lodge a formal protest against an effort by LaVar Ball to create a new professional basketball league for high school graduates who have no interest in attending college. The plan, as outlined by Ball to SPOOF, would offer outstanding players a chance to play professionally in their first year out of high school rather than having to enroll in a college in order to continue playing at a high level of competition. The players would receive up to $10,000 a month and would play on NBA courts.
The NCAA's protest charged that Ball "has defamed the whole concept of 'student athlete' on which college sports are based. Young men enter universities to broaden their education and to prepare for the world of work. A few of our athletes do become professional players, but most student athletes earn a degree in a field that will become their life-long career. While some may benefit from Ball's league, most of those will never make a career as a pro and will have missed the opportunity to learn a non-athletic profession."
Ball told SPOOF: "What's the use of pretending to be a student when the only interest the kid has is to play hoops? He enters a college, such as UCLA, and has to take courses he doesn't really want, or takes Mickey Mouse classes where he gets a grade for doing nothing, when all he's interested in is playing. He doesn't get paid, yet the college makes money off him at the box office. The scholarship is a joke, since he isn't interested in graduating and much of it goes for tuition and a dorm room. Beyond that, the coach has junior and senior men who may not be as good as the new kid on the block but they get more playing time because the coach likes them. That's why we need a special league for the high school grads."
Ball laughed at the NCAA's reference to "student athletes." "Where's the student in a kid who only spends a year at college because the NBA won't draft him in his first year out of high school? If anything, my league will restore real amateurism to college sports. Let the history major who wants to play ball find a spot on the college team. What if ball players started showing up in psych classes? Then we'd really have 'student athletes.' Don't try to tell me that when the whole first team at Kentucky drops out and turns pro after their freshman year that these kids were 'student athletes.' "
The NBA has not commented on Ball's proposal.