photo courtesy Bob DeMars

Former player: NCAA has “a long way to go” in athlete rights


We reported yesterday on a possible rule change being considered by the NCAA. Per John Infante of College Sports Scholarships, the governing body may waive limits on meal money and clothing allowances for student athletes, in essence clearing the way for athletic departments to assist athletes with living expenses that were previously seriously curtailed.

(Read: Is the NCAA close to handing out ‘stipends’ through an alternative method?)

I consulted filmmaker and former USC football player Bob DeMars for an opinion on these measures. DeMars is currently raising funds for his documentary “The Business of Amateurs”, which will take a look at the physical price college athletes pay to participate in sports, as well as the financial benefits colleges can reap from the system of amateurism. DeMars says college basketball fans had a close-up look at the dangers of NCAA play when Louisville’s Kevin Ware was injured on national television last March.

(Read: Kevin Ware takes to Twitter to talk recovery)

According to a report by the National College Players Association (NCPA) and Drexler University, the average basketball player is worth over a million dollars during their college career and a football player is worth $500,000, even after the value of their education is subtracted. Addressing CBT via email, DeMars gave the NCAA credit for starting to look at those numbers in light of yesterday’s report.

I took a look at the article and thought it was interesting.  It’s a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.  The average student athlete incurs over $3,000 in debt every year just to live and get by; this would help alleviate that stress, especially for low-income families of student athletes.
Think about this:  the average stipend of the college football player has increased along with the rate of inflation for the past 30 years; however, coaches salaries have skyrocketed at an exponential rate.   A coach gets a $2 million bonus option in his contract and nobody bats an eye, but try to give the student/athlete enough money to live on and it’s a controversy.
DeMars knows whereof he speaks. A former USC football player under Pete Carroll, he still battles knee and neck injuries suffered over a decade ago.
“I think we are a long way from discussing paying players,” DeMars cautioned. “However, players’ rights is something many can agree on.”

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.