Tuesday April 24, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN -- The University of Kentucky's winning an NCAA Division I basketball championship with a group of so-called "one-and-done" players redefines the term student-athlete, and not in a good way.

So says noted author John Feinstein, who spoke Monday night at Williams College. Feinstein, who has written 28 books -- including the top-selling sports books of all time -- is not open to criticizing Kentucky and coach John Calipari for following the one-and-done rules.

"Does it bother me that the one-and-done has become as prevalent as it is? Yes, it's a bad rule," Feinstein said, adding that to an extent, it has defined what college athletics in major Division I programs has become.

Feinstein spoke before a near-capacity crowd in the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall following the presentation of awards to the top Williams College student members of Dick Quinn's sports information staff.

Feinstein's connection to college basketball is long-established. One of the aforementioned sports books, "A Season on the Brink," was about the season he spent with Bob Knight and the Indiana University men's basketball team.

He told stories about writing his books, took questions from members of the audience and answered a few prior to his talk.

"They should have the baseball rule where you can put yourself into the draft after high school if you want, if you think you're good enough.


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If you sign with a college, you have to stay three years," he said. "That works for baseball. It helps for football, and the courts have upheld their rule about three years after [high school] graduation. I don't think it's fair to make kids go to college who don't want to go to college."

It seems as if nobody wants to own up to the one-and-done rule. NCAA President Mark Emmert has said that the one-and-dones are the result of NBA rule changes. NBA commissioner David Stern, speaking to the Associated Press Sports Editors, said it's not a one-and-done rule. Rather, the NBA requires all potential players to be 19 before they become eligible for the draft.

"Everybody is copping out on this," said Feinstein. "Mark Emmert, who's a blowhard, says that it's not our rule, it's the NBA's rule. So go have a meeting with Stern and [Players Association executive director] Billy Hunter and talk about getting the rule changed and it's not working and not good for us and it isn't good for you. [Many] of the players are not prepared, emotionally or physically, to play in the league after one year."

Two of the Williams students honored during Monday's festivities are Berkshire County residents.

Tim Goggins of Pittsfield was one of the winners of the 23rd Frank Deford Award, given to the top student SID assistants at the school. Nick Fogel of Williamstown was a winner of the third Aaron Pinsky ‘06 Award, given to top students involved in the webcasting of Williams sporting events.