- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: ‘Jesus Christ is a myth’
- Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas City show
- Josh Romney swipes Harry Reid with photo tweet of dad paying taxes — ‘your paycheck’
- Despite Obamacare problems, some Dems want Sebelius to run for Senate: report
- Angry New Yorkers shred gun registrations in deadline day protests
- Uninsured rate dropping faster in places that embraced pillars of Obamacare, survey shows
- Hawaii, D.C. give residents two more weeks to sign up under Obamacare
- Climate change causing fish to lose their minds, researchers say
- Great Britain tops World’s Most Sexist Nation list
- Aaron Hernandez investigated for threatening to kill prison guard
Barkley plans to get academic as NCAA analyst
NEW YORK (AP) - Charles Barkley’s analysis after a first-round blowout in the NCAA tournament: “Duke graduates their players, but that team they did has not graduated a player in like seven years.”
Never one for understatement, Barkley was in fact exaggerating Tuesday when he imagined that scene. But not by much. The brash Hall of Famer plans to lobby for better graduation rates in his new job as a college basketball commentator.
CBS and Turner Sports’ new 14-year, $10.8 billion deal to televise the NCAA tournament adds announcers from the NBA broadcasts on TNT to March Madness. And Barkley is mad about how few Division I players, especially African-American men, earn degrees.
“They got $10.8 billion. That’s a lot of freakin’ money,” Barkley told The Associated Press. “The players aren’t getting any of it, so clearly somebody is making money. I’m not opposed to people making money, but we do have an obligation, to, like, ‘OK, you know what? We’re making a (ton) of money. Let’s at least make sure these kids get educated.’”
When Turner Sports chief David Levy asked him about joining the college studio show, Barkley said he wouldn’t take part if he couldn’t get academic. He met with NCAA President Mark Emmert in Atlanta in January, which convinced him players shouldn’t be paid because it wasn’t fair to give athletes in some sports money but not others.
“He understands what this is all about,” NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen said. “His comments are representative of the many issues in the environment of basketball we’re all trying to address. … It’s a great opportunity for him to comment on those topics.”
Barkley does believe, unlike the NCAA, that college players should be able to get loans from agents. He was surprised to learn that black athletes have higher graduation rates than black students as a whole, which left him even more dismayed.
According to the latest NCAA statistics, the graduation success rate for black Division I men’s basketball players was 58 percent. Barkley would like to see it be 70 percent _ he figures there are three “boneheads” for every 10 kids.
“We can’t expect these kids to go out and be good fathers and take care of their families if they’re uneducated,” Barkley said. “There is personal responsibility. But you’ve got to help these kids because, first of all, all these kids think they’re going to play on the next level.”
He’s thought about writing a book tracking down all the guys he played with in high school, college and the pros. When Barkley reached the NBA, he realized just how few of his contemporaries made it. He heard stories that some were homeless.
Barkley thinks it’d be a fascinating book, but worries it may seem as though he’s taking advantage of them. For now, he can send the message of why earning a degree is so vital.
“I’ve been on the sidelines, but now I’m actually in the fight,” Barkley said. “I see how it works now. You can’t make a difference unless you talk about it. Now I’m going to keep banging the drums.”
TNT colleague Kenny Smith, who will join Barkley on the NCAA broadcasts, says he holds college coaches to an even higher standard than their NBA brethren because they’re responsible for players’ education and discipline. Barkley is thrilled when he sees a coach suspend a player, because he’s seen how a sense of entitlement is as dangerous to athletes as the lack of a diploma.
Barkley is still figuring out how and when to best get his message out on the air. He doesn’t want to be a “downer” and intends to embrace the happier aspects of his new job.
“I’ve got to wait for the appropriate time,” he said. “I can’t start out March Madness on Thursday saying, ‘These graduation rates suck.’ That wouldn’t be appropriate.”
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- PHILLIPS: What did Harry Reid know and when did he know it?
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes