Never mind the low scores, or the slow pace of play, or the one-and-dones or the block/charge debate. According to college basketball coaches, what really needs addressing is the runaway problem of the graduate transfers.
The NCAA says it plans to look into the epidemic at an upcoming meeting, which the coaches roundly applaud.
"We're hopeful it gets changed," Jim Haney, head of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, told the media at the Final Four.
Sorry, but as usual, the control-freak coaches have no one to blame but themselves.
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In 2006, the NCAA began allowing players who have earned their degrees but have a year of eligibility remaining the right to transfer to another school, start graduate work and be immediately eligible to finish their athletic careers.
The number of those taking advantage of the rule has grown annually, and last year, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, there were 52 graduate transfers in college basketball.
Back in 2012-13, Kentucky took advantage of the rule to sign Julius Mays, who had played first at North Carolina State, earned his degree after transferring to Wright State and finished his college career playing for the Cats.
This year, however, at least one case has thrown fire on the debate. Damion Lee, a 6-foot-6 swingman, averaged 21.4 points last season for Drexel before announcing that he was transferring to Louisville for his senior season.
"The thing is, you develop a kid and all of a sudden he's going somewhere else," Drexel Coach Bruiser Flint told ESPN's Dana O'Neil. "He wants to go to play at a higher level, but he went to Drexel for a reason — because he wasn't recruited at that level. He wasn't a player at that level. Now he is, but we helped him get there, and now that he is, he's out."
That's a shame.
Just as it's a shame VCU took a chance on a Florida assistant named Shaka Smart and Smart repaid the Rams by bolting for the higher-level job at Texas.
Just as it was a shame Florida International took a chance on 30-year-old Richard Pitino as a head coach only to see Pitino leave after one year for the higher-level job at Minnesota. Those are just two examples.
The complaint about the grad transfer rule is akin to coaches' complaints about the transfer rule in general — do as we say, not as we do.
And in this case, what the coaches have told the players to do has come back to bite.
After all, it is common practice for coaches to impress upon players the need to attend summer school to get ahead in their studies. There are two reasons for this: (1) it allows them a less-intense academic schedule during the season and (2) it helps them toward a degree, which helps graduation rate and APR numbers.
We often hear a coach bragging that one of his or her players is "graduating in three years." Now, that same coach wants control over what happens after the player graduates.
The NCAA might consider requiring graduate transfers to sit out a year — the requirement for regular transfers — before using their final year of eligibility. The supposed benefit is the student-athlete could focus on the first year of graduate work before finishing athletic eligibility.
That sounds more like a punishment than the solution to a problem, however. You can hear a coach now: "If you go elsewhere, you'll have to wait a year. If you stay here and go to grad school, you can play right away."
Funny, but that same coach doesn't seem to care as much about the player who has given three years to building a program, not to mention a coach's reputation, before he himself leaves for a better job on the eve of the player's senior season.
The familiar coach is gone while a new unknown coach arrives.
The student-athlete has no control over that.