NCAA vs. The WKU Basketball Coach and Student Athletes

January 7, 2012
by Justin

If you’ve read ScoutMe’s As the College Football World Turns, you should know one thing; when it comes to drama or any movement in college sports, you can depend on the @HempsteadHuddle to bring you the juicy details. Welcome back to The Bold and the Basketball, your top-tier source for the drama, along with new rules and regulations in college basketball that you should know about. The first week’s article was about the Syracuse and AAU sexual misconduct scandals, and the second volume updated you about the Syracuse scandal and the changes the NCAA will implement for the compensation of its student athletes, along with new rules for athletic scholarships. This week, we’ll get into recent events like the early season firing of a basketball coach and a new NCAA rule change that would have disqualified last year’s national champion, UConn from winning the title.


NCAA Basketball Cracks Down on Academics

The NCAA had plenty of NCAA ran institutions sweating bullets this academic year. The rumor was that starting in 2012, teams competing in NCAA sanctioned postseason play, including the March Madness basketball tournament and the Bowl Championship Series in football, will have tougher academic requirements that will increase in standards over time. The rumors of increased academic principles were very true, but the new rules would come into effect in the 2012-2013 academic year. The new NCAA rule increases the required APR or Academic Performance rate from a grade of 900 to 930. That doesn’t sound like much in quantity, but maybe this will put the new numbers in perspective; 30 of the 66 NCAA March Madness participants would have been ineligible for postseason play if this rule was in effect. The stunning fact is that one of the 30 teams would have been the basketball national champion, UConn. This fact alone probably had every school’s legal team ready to fight the NCAA if they tried to institute this rule in the midst of the academic year. Connecticut fans, students and alumni had to be calmed down by UConn’s president Susan Herbst, who addressed the media and made clear that while she approved of ensuring more rigorous standard for postseason competition, Herbst felt it should be done cautiously, in a systematic method.


This new NCAA rule change will really force a number of college basketball teams to focus more on the student part of the overused term student-athlete. The days of a basketball coach that will be recruiting more like Mike Krzyzewski, will be way more prevalent that a basketball coach who looks for one-year basketball talent like Coach Calipari. The NCAA rule will change by the 2012-13 seasons, which gives NCAA ran schools more time to improve their overall APR performances. This rule may change the whole landscape of college sports, creating a hole in most elite high school basketball recruiting. In all, I think parody will increase, because some schools wouldn’t be able to take an academically risky student athlete that another school with a high team GPA would be willing to take. This means a five star recruit may be more susceptible to going to a mid-major for their college career, instead of being apart of a “Fab Five-esque” mega team a la the current Kentucky basketball team.


Western Kentucky’s Basketball Coach Gets a Pink Slip

Western Kentucky’s head basketball coach Ken McDonald was fired Friday. Former Kentucky Wesleyan basketball coach Ray Harper, who was the assistant coach during McDonald’s tenure, is the interim, head basketball coach. WKU basketball was 5-11 this season and was slowly losing any momentum for any March Madness possibilities. WKU got their eleventh loss after a 72-70 overtime loss to Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday night. The loss isn’t making as many headlines as much as the fact that the Louisiana-Lafayette basketball team had six players on the court, and none of the coaches, players or refs stopped the basketball game. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored the winning basket in the final 18 seconds, and despite the obvious mishap, the WKU basketball coach kept his cool in the press conference. Here is the video of the incident; the unfortunate aftermath was the end of Ken McDonald’s career as division I basketball coach. This may end his career as a basketball coach in general.


Check back next week for another installment of The Bold and the Basketball. Until then, this is Yorick Hempstead signing off.


Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports blogger for ScoutMe. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.


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