The 2-credit senior

Basketball stars who don’t have the grades for college can try the NBA’s Development League. In a New York Times’ story on D-Leaguers with a shot at the pros, we meet Latavious Williams, who spent four years in high school in Starkville, Mississippi. As a senior, he’d passed only two of 16 core courses required by the NCAA for an athletic scholarship. “I didn’t go to school a lot,” Williams told the Times.

When asked how he got to be a senior in high school with only two core courses, Williams said: “You know when you’re at a school and you’re the best player, they’re going to work something out. It was just like that.”

He earned 14 credits in one year at Christian Life Center, a private school in Texas, but the NCAA wasn’t likely to accept those credits, so Williams went to the D-League, skipping the college-student pretense.

Via Eduwonk.

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  1. I’ve said for decades that the NFL and the NBA should run their own farm systems like MSB does, instead of relying on D1 college teams for their recruits. Those guys are rarely student-athletes in any meaningful sense, they’re often acquiring no marketable academic skills and knowledge and they are risking injury.

  2. How did he stay eligible to play high school ball? Don’t students need to maintain something like at least a C average to play?

  3. Cynical says:

    Don’t colleges and universities use basketball and football as profit centers?

  4. Don’t colleges and universities use basketball and football as profit centers?

    No. With few exceptions, they lose money for the school.

  5. GoogleMaster says:

    The D-League isn’t only for high school ballplayers who can’t get into college. It’s also where a lot of guys play after they graduate from college but don’t get picked up to play in the NBA itself. They’re still “owned” by an NBA team, and some of them occasionally get called up for a game or two. My alma mater is highly competitive academically but one of the smallest D-1 schools, so it is rather not-so-competitive athletically. We’ve had a handful of guys go to the D-League after they graduated, one even leading his team to the D-League championship this year. But they’re just not tall enough, big enough, or something, for the NBA to pull them up permanently.

    It’s kind of like the MLB farm system in that respect. There will always be guys who spend their entire careers in the minors.

    Bottom line, not all the guys in the D-League are academic losers like the ones the NYT focused on. Some of them not only attended college but graduated from academically competitive universities.

  6. It would appear that if Latavious Williams was playing for Starkville High School (the 2009-2010 6A state champions in Mississippi), the email I just sent to the Mississppi State High School Athletic Association regarding Mr. Williams and the article in the NY Times should be enough to get Starkville tossed out as the state champions for using an in-eligible player.

    I find it deplorable that the faculty at Starkville would condone this type of activity, knowing full well that the penalty at the state level for using a player who is academically ineligible is forfeiture of all games in which the player participated in, and forfeiture of any playoff games as well.

    The lack of integrity on the part of Starkville High School and Mr. Williams says plenty to the other schools who didn’t use in-eligible players during the school year.

  7. Alex Bensky says:

    I do like the guy’s name, though. “I feel rather latavious tonight.” “Well, just take an aspirin and go to bed early.”

    But mono points up something that will never be cured, the corruption and essential dishonesty of big-time college sports, which sometimes still claim that the players are student athletes. I graduated from the U. of Michigan law school and even if I had more loyalty towards the school or the university than I do, I feel no more impelled to root for its teams than I do to buy books because they’re produced by its press.

    I think there is something less corruption in college baseball and hockey partly because there’s less money involved but partly because a young man who aspires to play professional baseball and hasn’t got the stuff for college or doesn’t want to go has the option of directly entering the minor leagues.

    Certainly someone who wants to play pro football has no choice but to go through the colleges which is why, watching the College World Series, I get the impression that at least most of the baseball players can read. The pro leagues feed off this; their player development costs are trimmed substantially and they even have rules, such as the age at which a player can be drafted, to keep the supply coming up cheaply.


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