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Is the IOC out of its mind? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:57 PM

The Olympics are getting rid of wrestling in the 2020 Games?
At least that is the plan.
I am going to add my name to the growing list of those who think this is a  stupid  plan  by  the  IOC  —  uh oh, the IOC better listen up and pay attention!
If there are some things that are the essence of the Games — or at least should be — it is about the idea of friendly competition amongst nations, about amateur athleticism at its best — oops, sorry, that slipped in there! My mistake! — and traditions from the past, even stretching back to the Ancient Games.
What sport is more traditional for the Games than Greco-Roman wrestling?

Running sprints and marathons is very much in line with that but so is wrestling.

Now they are claiming that the ratings and attendance aren’t good for these matches and, of course, that drives things these days, in case you haven’t noticed!
The sport doesn’t appeal to the masses — in their way of thinking — but anyone who goes to the state tournament in Ohio knows that’s ludicrous, when The Schott has very large crowds that are, in many ways, equal to what they get for the state basketball tournament.

Well, by that logic, get rid of tandem diving, badminton — at least that’s modern because they fix matches! — and on and on.
By no means am I trying to make fun of those sports — those are some serious athletes, not your average ones that play badminton at your Sunday cookout! — but those sports don’t attract the ratings, either.

Kentucky freshman Noel Nerlens blew out his knee the other night and that has brought the one-and-done rule in the NBA into focus.
At least the pundits and talking heads that I have listened to, mostly, have spoken that this rule should be eliminated, that in the United States of America, if someone wants to try and earn a living at the professional level — in this case, pro basketball — they should be able to.
T

hey point to success stories like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, guys that made the jump from high school to the pros pretty well.
Well, LeBron is simply a physical marvel: a guy that goes 6-9, 270 pounds with that unbelievable athleticism is, literally, once in a lifetime. Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain and his 7-0, 300-pound frame leaps to mind for me.

Kobe struggled his first couple of years and Garnett slowly worked his way in but definitely was not the dominant force he later became for Minnesota.
There are so many guys that didn’t work out — none leap to mind! See what I mean?

It seems to me that too many have only had the advice of an agent telling them they are the greatest player since the invention of sliced bread and when their pro career fails, they have no other recourse.

I understand that many of these kids come from nothing and really want to take care of their families and make a living.

I remember the old hardship rule that used to allow players to come out before they graduated from college: Spencer Haywood challenged the rule that a player had to wait four years after high school to play in The League in court and won. He went to the ABA first.

Moses Malone, Darryl Dawkins and Bill Willoughby also made the jump in the mid-70s but only Moses really lived up to expectations.

Here is something I didn’t know when doing research for this article: in the mid-60s, a player had to wait until a year after his high school class graduated to be eligible to play in the NBA; Reggie Harding was the first to be drafted out of high school (1962) but had to play minor-league ball for a year.
Anyway, I try to see both sides.

While there are those that think they should have the right to try and make a living — they point to female tennis players being able to turn pro at 14 but I think with the way these kids’ bodies break down over the long and short haul may not be the best example — and I can give them credence; however, I think we can all agree that fundamentals are far too often lacking in the professional game that a year of seasoning in the college game — physical and mental — is of benefit.
The NBA is about getting fans into the seats but it also wants to have a quality product out there.

Perhaps The League and colleges could work together to have some kind of system where these guys could declare for the NBA Draft — like Nerlens is expected to — and see where they go; if they don’t like it, they would still have their scholarships to lean back on.

The colleges might balk at that — coaches, especially those under fire for not winning, need to know who is coming and if they need to recruit another player — but I think there is going to have to be compromise at whatever decision is made.

This also applies to South Carolina sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (remember his hit against Michigan?), who some think may not play this year in order to avoid a potential injury and perhaps lose millions of dollars because of it.

He has to wait another year to declare for the NFL Draft, aka The National Holiday, and many think he is a top-5 pick already. One fear of keeping the present system is that these guys will eventually start going overseas right out of high school.
My guess is something will change because you can’t have these potential scenarios happening — I just don’t know how.

 

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