BY: John Mamola
The biggest debate in college basketball is whether or not the one-and-done player is helping or hurting the sport of college basketball. Currently the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that players must have been out of high school for one year and 19 years old before they can enter the NBA. Now there is talk of raising the minimum years of eligibility to two.
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver is on record as saying he would like the requirements to be increased to two years out of high school and 20 years old.
If it were up to Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan, he’d do away with the rule all together. Donovan telling the Orlando Sentinel:
“College basketball coaches and programs are taking on all the risks," Donovan says. "The kid doesn't want to be in college and wants to be in the NBA, but because of the rules, he has to stay in college. Now you're opening yourself up for potential NCAA violations. … You've got players like Jabari Parker [Duke] or Julius Randle [Kentucky], and there is so much coming at these kids. If a kid takes something he's not supposed to take or he is enticed into something, it's the colleges that are put in harm's way."
"It's colleges that have to handle situations like this and what comes with it," Donovan says of the inducements being offered to big-time NBA prospects. "And what comes with it is a lot of enticement, a lot of agent involvement, a lot of people hovering around and a lot of people trying to get their hooks into the kid. And then if the kid makes a mistake or doesn't do the right thing, all of the sudden it falls on the institution. That's not right when the kid should have never been in college in the first place and should already have been in the NBA.”
Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroudâ€™s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2â€™s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPNâ€™s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Networkâ€™s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungyâ€™s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucsâ€™ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Timesâ€™ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.