I included this post in another thread...but it's just as relevant here. Everyone's favorite, Grantland.com, has published a thoughtful, if a little alarmist, Chuck Klosterman piece about how the colleghe bball landscape may further change if Kentucky wins the title this year:
Kentucky's Death March - They're going to win. And what happens next will be really bad for college basketball.
"So let's assume Kentucky succeeds. Let's assume they rampage through their final two games. It will disprove a lot of lingering suspicions about what does (and doesn't) work. It will mean that winning a title with freshmen and sophomores is not only plausible, but logical and inarguable. That realization will knock the system out of balance. Right now, there are always two foolproof arguments against the Calipari ideal — it reflects badly on the university, and it breaks down in moments that matter most. No one is going to emulate a program with a bad reputation if the end result is the same as doing things the way they've always been done. But that argument evaporates the moment Calipari climbs a ladder and cuts a net. If Kentucky is simultaneously the most straightforward finishing school for future professionals and the best place to win a national championship, there's no reason for a blue-chip high school senior to go anywhere else. Calipari will dynastically dominate with a revolving door of sheer horsepower, and the only way other schools will be able to respond is by becoming exactly like him.
Now, I'm not suggesting that every single college will turn into a clone of Kentucky, because that's impossible. There aren't enough good players in America for that to happen. But Calipari's scheme will become standard at a handful of universities where losing at basketball is unacceptable: North Carolina, Syracuse, Kansas, UCLA, and maybe even Duke. These schools already recruit one-and-done freshmen, but they'll have to go further; they'll have to be as transparent about their motives as Calipari is (because transparency is the obsession of modernity). If they resist, they will fade. And the result will be a radical amplification of what the game has already become: There will be five schools sharing the 25 best players in the country, and all the lesser programs will kill each other for the right to lose to those five schools in the Sweet 16. It will skew the competitive balance of major conferences and split D-I basketball into two completely unequal tiers. Final Four games will look more and more like sloppy pro games, and national interest in college basketball will wane (even if the level of play technically increases).5 In 10 years, it might be a niche sport for people like me — people who can't get over the past."
The other three final four teams, combined, start a total of one freshman. As far as I can tell, the last national champion to have a one-and-done player was... 2005 Carolina with Marvin Williams, who didn't even start. Kentucky winning would be notable as the youngest team in a long time to win the title, but it wouldn't make a trend by itself. If Kentucky wins three years in a row with different one-and-done players, then we can start talking about being afraid the landscape of the game is dramatically changing.
I remember Pat Forde predicting in 2007 (when Florida and Ohio State played for the title) that we were taking a turn into an era where mega-football schools were going to rule the basketball world. Short-sighted, and so is this.
Sorry, the metaphor fell apart a bit there.
Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.
You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner
You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke
Harrison Barnes chose (unwisely imo) UNC over Duke and others. Quincy Miller was not in a position to make the sam.e decision.
What is the effect on future bball scholarships and post season play, as set by the existing NCAA rules, when losing players early to the NBA, considering graduation rates, etc? While I could see a dampening effect due to sanctions regarding post season play, a limited loss of scholarships probably wouldn't do much considering that there wouldn't be much all-star bench play necessary, anyway, as a lot of these "future stars" wouldn't come if they had to sit on the bench and watch someone else get all the glory.