Look Out Below!

Here are the kinds of statements that should send chills down the spines of thoughtful leaders of school-based basketball:

  • From Maverick Carter, business manager for LeBron James and CEO of Springhill Entertainment: “. . . the system is broken at the base, the foundation of it, which is youth basketball . . . And if youth basketball is broken, then that’s part of his (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s) job, too, because those kids are quickly in his league.”
    “. . . the NCAA has these stupid-ass rules that are so archaic, so you have to fix that whole thing and figure out a way to do it. I own a piece of Liverpool football club, in European soccer, because clubs have a system all the way down to youth.”
  • From Michelle Roberts, NBA Players Association executive director: “. . . we need to go younger, and we’re now plotting ways to do that.”
  • From Draymond Green, formerly of Michigan State and now of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors: “You talk to the European guys who I’ve played with, and they’ve been making money since they were 15 years old . . .”
  • From Michael Singer of the Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN: “. . . the NBA is indeed exploring avenues to connect with elite high school players and improve the developmental system . . . Part of the NBA’s plan could hinge on working with elite prospects throughout high school, whether at tournaments or at summer camps.”

So, at minimum, this is what school-based sports can expect as a result of NBA and NCAA efforts to fix what’s broken in college basketball:

  1. Additional pressures on students to specialize in basketball year-round from a very early age.
  2. Further distraction from the masses of players toward elite players.
  3. An attack on amateur standing rules in school-based basketball.


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.