Charlotte, N.C. — In the wake of the FBI investigation into alleged payments to several college players and potential NCAA violations, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy vented on his frustrations with the system.
Before Sunday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, Van Gundy was asked about the restrictions on college basketball players, who have to wait one year before entering the NBA draft. His responses were critical of the NCAA and some of their rules to benefit coaches and not athletes.
“The NCAA is one of the worst organizations — maybe the worst organization — in sports. They certainly don’t care about the athletes,” Van Gundy said. “They’re going to act now like they’re just appalled by all these things going on in college basketball? Please. It’s ridiculous.”
Van Gundy has coached in the NBA for 20 years, including 12 as a head coach. He also was an assistant coach and head coach in college from 1981 to 1995, with stints at Wisconsin, Massachusetts-Lowell and Castleton.
He’s had his share of elite athletes, including one-and-done players such as the Pistons’ Andre Drummond and Stanley Johnson, and Dwyane Wade — who played two years at Marquette — before going to the Miami Heat.
“On a straightly fairness issue, I don’t understand why they have to do one year of college. I don’t like the whole process. When they’re there, I don’t like this process that they have to declare in (the draft) and out,” Van Gundy said. “You should be able to go into the draft and if you don’t like where you’re picked, go back to school if you want.
“And while we’re on it, they should be able to transfer schools every year. The one thing I know about the NCAA is the last group of people they care about is — as they call them, the ‘student-athletes’ — which is part of their ability to promote themselves. They don’t care about them at all.”
One example Van Gundy used was coaches in college football, who can leave freely for better jobs when they become available, but players are bound by their scholarships and commitments to the universities during that time.
“A coach can leave in football and skip the damn bowl game and screw the kids he just coached — that’s fine, but if a kid leaves, he’s got to sit out a year? Come on, man,” Van Gundy said.
“I’ve always been in favor of (going straight to the NBA),” Van Gundy said. “I don’t understand why, as an industry, basketball or any other professional sport, we’re able to limit somebody’s ability to make money. I don’t get it.
“I think personally — and now I’m definitely on a soapbox — the people who were against them coming out made a lot of excuses but a lot of it was racist.
“The reason I’m going to say that is I’ve never heard anybody go up arms about letting kids go out and play minor-league baseball or hockey. They’re not making big money and they’re white kids and nobody has a problem. But all of a sudden, you’ve got a black kid who wants to come out of high school and make millions — that’s a bad decision?
“But bypassing college to go play for $800 a month in minor-league baseball – that’s a fine decision? What the hell is going on. If there’s a college that can’t a kid that when you have a chance to make $2.5 million-$3 million a year guaranteed for four years that you should skip college, then the institution is no good.”