Thursday, March 29, 2007

This Fairy Tale Has An Ambiguous Ending.


There is no Cinderella story this year in the Final Four of this year's NCAA tournament, so Josh Peter over at Yahoo decided to catch up with the three seniors that powered last year's improbable George Mason team to the Final Four, and it's not exactly the prettiest of pictures. Forward Jai Lewis, point guard Tony Skinn, and guard Lamar Butler are all playing overseas (Skinn with a girlfriend and a child) after their university raked in money from the appearance and they had visions of the NBA (not stardom, but at least a shot.) For every player that turns himself into a lottery pick during the tournament, there are probably many more Skinns, Butlers, and Lewises out there: trying to make a living doing what they love and know best, yet finding the reality is so much harder than the dream they all chased one year ago.

It's educational in the sense that we all ought to witness how a game you love can turn into just another dreary, depressing job, when the other options are limited and the dream still exists. And if you don't hate the NCAA enough already for allowing schools to make millions off the backs of these kids, yet deny them most ways of making their own cash while in school, then this will probably help stoke the fire a bit more.

These things even happen to national champions -- an NYT article on Jim Harrick, otherwise unremarkable except for the oddity that is his career, becomes compelling when you realize that two of Harrick's players on the D-League's Bakersfield Jam are former national champs: namely, MSU's Mateen Cleaves and Syracuse's Gerry McNamara.

5 comments:

Purdue Matt said...

The get a free education. That is payment enough. They are student athletes after all.

Mini Me said...

A great article! Thanks for the link

Signal to Noise said...

Purdue Matt - to me, only in the loosest sense of the term are most D-I college b-ball players "student-athletes." Even smaller conferences are not immune to this. So, while I appreciate the scholarship as a form of payment, the school makes multiple times their scholarship payout over the appearance, while even students who have academic scholarships get to earn money on the side.

twins15 said...

Yeah I read that article yesterday... thought it was really interesting. Nice commentary, especially w/r/t the NCAA.

The Intern said...

Nice work, StN. Per usual.