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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

NCAA president criticizes LaVar Ball for pulling son LiAngelo out of UCLA

If some comments he made on Wednesday about the Ball family are any indication, NCAA president Mark Emmert may not have the best understanding of where his bread is buttered.

While speaking at the 2017 SportsBusiness Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, Emmert was asked about LaVar Ball’s decision to pull his middle son LiAngelo out of UCLA this week. Ball said he made that choice because LiAngelo’s suspension from his shoplifting incident in China was dragging out too long, and the main reason his son was at UCLA was to play basketball. According to Emmert, that is not a good enough reason to attend college.

Emmert has spoken out on numerous occasions over the years against the NBA’s age limit, which requires players to either be 19 years old when they declare for the NBA Draft or have played at least one season of college ball. The NCAA president wants the NBA to eliminate that rule so students stop “using” colleges to play one year of basketball, so his issue with the Ball family likely has more to do with that.

Still, the idea of college is to prepare students to be successful at a profession. If that means having to attend one year of college so you can be qualified to begin your professional career, so be it. You could argue that LiAngelo Ball not wanting to attend college for anything other than basketball is no different from another student who has his heart set on a certain career.

Of course, there has been some indication that LiAngelo could have trouble finding a job playing basketball. Still, Emmert’s comments came off as hypocritical.

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