As of its most recent top 100-prospect ranking, CBS Sports had seven-Wildcats ranked in the top-80. Of those, six have already declared for the upcoming NBA draft, and the crown jewel of the bunch, Karl-Anthony Towns is projected to be a top-two pick. Barring an injury that ended his season, Alex Poythress would likely be joining the party; (he is currently ranked 76 by the CBS big board).
Sure schools play to win the championship, but make no mistake, players play to get drafted. Despite what coaches, AD's and institutional apologists will try to say, the "free education" elite basketball players get is neither fair market value for their contributions to their schools bottom line, nor of great benefit to them. Let me explain, first the issue of fair market value.
This Forbes article breaks down what amounts to the tip of the financial iceberg regarding what the performance of the players on the court, earns the schools and conferences. A few highlights from the report are shown below.
$ Earned for School
$ Earned for SEC
$8.23 million over 6-years
$5.5 million thru 3rd round
Meanwhile the out-of-state tuition rate for one-year at Kentucky for students who entered in 2014 (which describes much of the basketball team) is $63,948. Multiply that by four if you want to live in fantasy land and think that most of these kids will see four years of that (not happening) and you get $255,792.
Lets get crazier and say every kid on this years roster of 16 gets that full benefit because they all stay 4-years and the school would pay out just under $4.1 million in scholarship money.
Obviously the school will never pay anywhere near that money because not all players are on scholarship, and almost none will stay the full-four-years; oh and scholarships are not guaranteed beyond the current year for anyone.
But that playoff money will hit the schools coffers, that we can be sure of.
So for a player like Towns in his one-year in Lexington he has helped earn the school over $8 million dollars and for his efforts received just under $64,000 in scholarship money toward a degree he won't get, doesn't need and never had any interest in. They may as well have paid him in food, at least someone of his size could likely benefit from extra grub lying around.
Indeed paying basketball players like Towns, whose sole reason for attending school to begin with is to avoid going overseas while placating the NBA's absurd rule of 1-year removed from high school to enter the NBA draft, makes about as much sense as paying an up-and-coming A-list actor getting ready for his first big role with a years tuition to the local acting school. It neither comes close to fairly compensating him for his talents, nor assists him in anyway because he does not need the education, he already has learned the lessons; hence his status as an A-lister.
these top-level college athletes are in the same boat as the actor in our analogy, a college education does little to help them, and frankly has never been something that had any interest in; they're there to play basketball and get to the NBA, period.
If getting to the next level is why players play, it stands to reason that coach John Calipari continues to land top-line recruits year-after-year. He keeps sending them to the NBA and to real paychecks. As long as he continues to do that, coach Cal and his players, regardless of where they finish in the NCAA's March moneymadness will continue to get the last laugh, as they continue to rank #1 in the stat that counts; ex players that they've gotten paid.
What do you think from a schools perspective what's more important for being able to continually attract top-flight players, winning tournaments games and national titles? Or sending numerous players to the NBA every year? Comment below, best comment will win a $50 gift certificate good to any service offered by Scribe Doctor (except web hosting).