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Friday, September 7, 2018

Basketball: Point of View

"The NCAA was so mad at Kentucky they gave Cleveland State two more years of probation." - Jerry Tarkanian 

Who tells the story? Every story has points of view. The head of the NCAA, an assistant coach, the star player, a walk-on, the manager, a junior custodian, a player's parents, or an outside narrator all have a point of view. Does a unified story emerge or nuanced one, depending on point of view? 

Every organization tells its story. "Student-athlete health, safety, and well-being remain our top priorities (NCAA)." In court papers, "The NCAA denies that it has a legal duty to protect student-athletes." Emmert replied, "I will not quibble about the language..." 

“Our mission is to be an integral part of higher education and to focus on the development of our student-athletes.” (NCAA Office of the President)

“Our championships are one of the primary tools we have to enhance the student-athlete experience." (NCAA Office of the President)

"It's far too easy to look at this huge top-line revenue number and say 'Everyone is making money...'" (Mark Emmert, NCAA President)

“Keep compliance issues on the front burner permanently so that we don't pay attention to compliance issues just when there is a problem.” (Mark Emmert, NCAA President)

Compliance is as adherence does. "During a two-year period, the head coach asked student-athletes if they would like to participate in voluntary activities before and after mandatory practice. He then listed the voluntary activities on the daily practice schedules. The student-athletes believed their presence at the activities was mandatory and, at times, members of the coaching staff were present and observed the activities. Additionally, sometimes the coach allowed the required practice and skill activities to run longer than their scheduled times."

"Most of the things that I saw Northwestern athletes asking for are either in place or on their way to being in place." (Mark Emmert, on Northwestern National Labor Relations Board actions). The NLRB denied Northwestern players the right to unionize, but Northwestern modified its handbook to specify more rights and violations. Whether student-athletes are employees becomes murky.


Facts do not exist in a vacuum. We manipulate them. 

Organizations and individuals understandably advocate for their self-interest and frame the narrative accordingly. They often embellish their points and camouflage or conceal opposing views. 

Consider point of view in that context. When I read Seth Davis' chapter on Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney in Getting to Us, I thought Swinney was on the fast track to sainthood. Not so fast

That makes about as much sense as saying playing additional rounds of Russian Roulette would be safer. 


Everyone develops their process. This isn't suitable for team practice, but form shooting has value for a perishable skill. 

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