Coach Cal’s changing things for the better

By Sam Deal, Sports Editor

College basketball is dying. The one-and-done athlete is killing the quality of the game. Ratings and attendance dropping is John Calipari and Kentucky’s fault for embracing such players.

Shut up.

I am sick and tired of hearing this argument. The one-and-done college basketball atmosphere has brought us the most-watched March Madness tournament in 21 years.

Nielsen rankings have the tournament averaging a 6.3 rating, which is up 3 percent from last year, and Saturday’s Elite Eight game between Kentucky and Notre Dame scored an 8.3 rating with 14.7 million total views making it the most watched college basketball game ever on cable television.

The Wildcats pursuit of perfection is bringing in viewers at record numbers and four of the highest rated games on ESPN this year were played by Kentucky, according to

Kentucky’s one-and-done players aren’t hurting the game, they are keeping it alive.

This year’s UK team actually has broken the mold of Calipari’s teams, with six players returning from last season’s national championship runner up. The team also features top freshmen Karl-Anthony Towns, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker.

The NBA raised the age limit to 19 in 2006, forcing high school hoopers to wait at least a year to jump to the association. Since that decision, a trend has developed in college basketball; teams with superior freshmen talent face teams with seniors who have had years to develop and grow together.

In 2007, Florida defeated Ohio State winning their second consecutive championship with a veteran-laden team. Meanwhile, OSU sent freshmen Greg Oden and Mike Conley to the draft lottery.

The following year Kansas junior Mario Chalmers led KU past Memphis and soon to be No. 1 overall pick freshman Derrick Rose.

In 2012 it was Kentucky’s defeat of Kansas in the championship, in 2013 Michigan versus Louisville. And last year’s Connecticut win over Kentucky was just the latest example.

The 2015 tournament has shaped up the same way. The final four consists of two veteran teams in Michigan State and Wisconsin and two young teams, Kentucky and Duke.

The contrasting styles has created parity, and the sentiment that one-and-done players are hurting the game is old, irrational and wrong.

How dare young, mostly African-American athletes be in control of their own future?

Yeah that doesn’t sound familiar at all. Why should the ones with all the talent be in control of their future, when they can be used by a flawed system to stuff the pockets of those who don’t have the athlete’s best interest at hand?

When I was 19, it was up to me to determine what was best for my future and when I’m watching Towns stare down Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky in Saturday’s Final Four matchup I think these kids should have the same options.