Tuesday, March 18, President Barack Obama released his predictions for the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The predictions were released via ESPN's "Barack-etology" with Andy Katz in which they quickly review game by game why the President is picking the specific teams in his bracket.
Interestingly, the President has two number 4 seeds, Michigan St. vs Louisville, going head to head in the national championship. However, throughout Obama's six consecutive years of displaying his bracket predictions publicly, he has not been a great predictor as he has not chosen the correct national champion since North Carolina won in 2009.
More importantly, the public got the opportunity to view Obama's thoughts on the topic that many college athletes are leaving their respective universities early to make the move to the pros. He displayed that he does not object to student athletes leaving early that have the opportunity to enter the professional rankings, but showed much concern for those playing college sports that do not have that type of future.
Obama told ESPN's Andy Katz,
"I have to say that, I don't begrudge young people if they've got an opportunity to look after their family, to go ahead and get an NBA contract and then go back to school, hopefully, and get their degree if that's the right choice. I'm more concerned with the young people who are not going to have the chance to go to the NBA, and are they getting treated well by these schools."
"Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins... they're going to be fine no matter what. They've got terrific parents, they've got a lot of support. I'm not concerned that they're going to make a bad choice. But for a lot of the average kids who are not going to able to get a good pro career, are those schools making sure that they're actually getting a good education, that they're actually getting a degree, that, if they get injured, their scholarships stick with them?"
Hence, the topic of college athletes leaving early has been a hot topic since 2006 in which the NBA implemented Article X in their collective bargaining agreement. The rule, better known as the "one and done" rule, states that players cannot enter the NBA without being 19 years old and one year removed from high school graduation.
Consequently, the effectiveness of the rule has become ever more present this year due to the amount of freshman players expected to go professional after this year. Therefore, it will be increasingly important to depict the performance and life outcomes of the "one and done" athletes as it is likely that the rules will be adjusted according to the results. Only time will tell, but the topic is very important for future athletes that expect to compete at a higher level as well as the universities and professional teams that look to capture the services of these athletes.