One last update for the former UK players and where they are now from the last 2 days:
Henry Thomas (CORRECTION): Working for a company that sells pacemakers
Jeff Brassow: Also working for same company as Henry Thomas in Charleston, SC
Adam Chiles: Working at liquor store in Louisville
Josh Carrier: Working for a drug rep, potentially in Western Kentucky
Sheray Thomas: Construction Consultant and Contractor in Huntington, WV
Dwight Perry: Working with basketball team at Stanford
Skip McGaw (not McGraw): Working in Madisonville for Insurance Company
Todd Tackett: Potentially a coal operator in Eastern Kentucky
I have never understood this idea of a “letter of intent” in college athletics. Why it ever was created, and more importantly, why a kid would ever sign one. As Brandon Knight taught all of us earlier this year, you actually DONT have to sign one, instead choosing to just sign a financial aid agreement. This was a brilliant move because if if if if John Calipari was to leave Kentucky, Knight would, in theory, be able to go wherever he wanted. While guys like Enes Kanter would be stuck at UK, unless given a release by the school.
Now, I did a little digging, because I thought maybe the NCAA instituted this for a reason that I can’t think of. Well, I found that the NCAA states it created the Letter of Intent program to:
“…protects student-athletes from continued recruiting pressure, ensures that those players lock up their scholarship and, by “emphasizing a commitment to an educational institution” rather than individual coaches, helps athletes focus their attention on their “educational objectives.”
Maybe I am not the first to say this but what a bunch of bull poop. It basically says that signing a letter of intent makes Enes Kanter, for instance, focus more on the school itself and its educational strengths, rather than the coach. Give me a break. I would bet that well over 90% of ALL Division-1 athletes go to a school because of the coaching staff, and another 5% simply go to a school because its close to home. Maybe 1 or 2 percent of all college athletes choose a school because of that schools academic strengths, and those are likely Ivy League, Stanford, and Northwestern.
Now, what does this have to do with Terrence Jones? Well, by rule, Jones needs to sign a letter of intent by tomorrow to be “ensured” a scholarship by whatever institution he chooses. But, for an elite player like Jones, is this really a worry? If he chose to NOT sign a letter of intent, and keep his options open, do you really think that Kentucky would turn him away in July because of a “lack of scholarships”. UH…..NO!!! If Kentucky had a lack of scholarships, it would be “see you later Jon Hood” and “welcome to the team Terrence Jones”.
Letters of Intent are simply handcuffing college athletes. The bind you to that school for one year, and if you don’t complete that year, you are penalized. I thought college was supposed to be geared towards the kids, not the schools. I thought kids should have a right to choose which school was their best option, not be forced to go to a school after making a decision as much as 2 years before even attending college.
So my message to Terrence Jones is this: DO NOT SIGN A LETTER OF INTENT ANYWHERE. If at the end of it all, you want to come to Kentucky, we will have a spot open for you. I personally don’t care if you decide in September, but don’t completely limit your options by signing this fraud of a document by the NCAA.