Happy Graduation Day, Claire

Claire at Easter 1994

Our Claire…always the student

Twenty-two years ago, I never dreamed this day would come.

Not that Claire wasn’t always eager to learn.  But when your hands are full with new twins, two decades seems like such a long time in the future.

But the years have flown by and this weekend finds us in Southern California for Claire’s graduation from Pomona College. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were all flying here to leave our daughter on the west coast, at a school she obviously loved but that seemed so far away from home?

Pomona was recommended to Claire by Leonard King, her insightful and supportive high school teacher and college counselor at Maret, who had an amazing record of linking students with just the right college that offered the most chance for personal and intellectual growth.  Claire and I first saw Pomona together on a spring break trip. When she decided to apply early decision and Candice was concerned about having her so far from home, I did what any take-charge father would do: I said to Candice, “You take her for a visit and then you tell her she can’t go!”  (Clever, huh?)  Candice – just like Claire and me – fell in love with the beautiful campus, the intellectual pursuits of the faculty and students, and the feeling of support and understanding that permeates the college.

Claire at Pomona

Our Pomona Class of 2015 Graduate

Claire’s senior year began last August, after our memorable cross-country road trip, which could stand as a metaphor for the year ahead.  Nine months later, here we are, celebrating the end of one journey and the beginning of another.  Andrew – flying in from Boston – joined us on Thursday night (actually Friday morning, as his plane was late) so the three of us could be in attendance to celebrate our Claire. We began the packing of the dorm room on Friday morning, to get a jump on the work that no one really wants to undertake.

Claire with Jason

Claire with Jason Harris at Friday’s taco dinner

Claire has met the most amazing and thoughtful group of friends while at Pomona, and their generosity of spirit came through on Friday night.  Claire and her suitemates joined two other suites to host a taco dinner for their families, as a way of saying “thank you.” While the (welcomed in drought-striken Southern California) rain drove the party indoors, it was a great time to reconnect with families and friends we’ve come to know over these four years – some from as close as Georgetown and others from throughout the world. That generosity continued on Saturday morning when one of Claire’s swim teammates – Hannah – and her family included us in their rooftop brunch to kick off the day of celebration.

Rooftop Garden Brunch

Rooftop Garden Brunch

It didn’t take us long to realize that we were going to eat our way through the graduation weekend.  From the rooftop garden of Sontag Hall, we walked over to Lincoln Hall – and the amazing James Turrell Skyspace installation – for a luncheon with the Psychology majors and faculty.

Psychology Faculty Lunch

Claire with Shlomi Sher (L) and Sharon Goto (R), members of the Psychology Faculty, at Saturday’s lunch

Psychology Faculty Lunch

Claire with Psychology Professor Jessie Borelli beside the James Turrell Skyspace

Claire has loved her work in psychology with these amazing professors, and is excited to have a position in Los Angeles beginning in August with the Episcopal Urban Internship Program that will let her build on her study in real world applications.

One of the traditions at Pomona is that the incoming freshman class walks through the gates to the college, and the graduating seniors walk back out through those gates during graduation weekend.  Led by a bagpiper, the class of 2015 celebrated as they walked through those gates and off to Class Day and dinner.  We closed out the evening with a Glee Club concert in Little Bridges Music Hall that was wonderful.  Andrew – our professional – was singing their praises through the rest of the weekend.

Marching through Pomona's gates

Claire – and the class of 2015 – march through the gates of Pomona and out into the world

Sunday morning finally arrived, and – having scoped out the scene the day before – we arrived early to sit where we could see Claire in the procession and have a great view of the stage.  Held on Marston Quadrangle in the middle of campus, graduation takes place beneath a shade canopy.  Here’s an excerpt from the description in the program:

The shade canopy above the graduates is the work of Los Angeles artists Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess and architectural designer Emily White.  It was first installed for the Pomona 2009 College Commencement, with faculty, students, and staff helping to attach the streamers to the net.  The shade structure is based on “Voronoi tessellaions,” algorithms of weaving and lace-making, coordinated with a solar incidence angle study that determines an optimum density pattern, allowing for shade where most needed, and keeping the canopy as lightweight and transparent as possible. The net’s lattice follows a pattern…derived from string figures, known as “clown’s collar.”

Shade Canopy

Pomona College Graduation Shade Canopy

Another Pomona tradition is the wearing of leis by many of the graduates.  We had ordered two – one from our family and one from Claire’s Grandmother Colando – and Andrew and I met Claire on Sunday morning to help her prepare for the processional. While there, swim team coach Jean-Paul Gowdy – known to all as J.P. and a true mentor for Claire in her four years on the team – stopped by for a hug and congratulations.

Graduation Lei

Andrew helps Claire with her graduation lei

Claire with Coach JP

Swim Coach JP Gowdy stops by to add his congratulations

Preparing to process

Andrew and DJB with Claire, as she prepares to process into graduation

Then we took our seats and it was time for the processional.


Claire processes in for graduation

Claire has had multiple communities at Pomona – all of which have nurtured and helped her grow while she has contributed to their health and vitality. The swim team is one of the most important, and they were there throughout commencement.  J.P. looked cool in his shades, while the team cheered loudly – and waved “Big Heads” – anytime a swim team senior received a diploma.

Swim Coach

Coach JP – the coolest faculty member in the procession

Swim team cheering section

Swim team cheering section – with Jackie and Claire looking over the proceedings

This was one of those ceremonies where the student speakers gave the featured commencement speaker a run for her money…they were that good.  Of the four honorary degrees, we all agreed that the remarks by Michael Dickerson (’01), were not only the most humorous, but also the most insightful.  Dickerson – the administrator of the newly created U.S. Digital Service in the White House – spoke about how his work at Google, with the Obama campaign, and as one of the chief “fixers” of HealthCare.gov was not part of any great plan.  In fact, he said he “Wasn’t speaking to all those folks at the top of the program who were graduating with various honors and probably had their lives figured out, but to everyone else who didn’t have a clue as to what they would be doing tomorrow.”  That spoke to not only a great many graduates, but also their families.

The Browns were also pleased to see that another of the honorary degrees went to Andrew Lewison Hoyem (’57), the founder of the Arion Press.  When he was being introduced as someone who had been recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Claire turned to her seatmate and said, “That’s where my dad works!”

Two hours into the ceremony, the college began handing out the degrees.  And it was a wonderful celebration!

Marching across the stage

Claire receives her degree from Pomona President David Oxtoby

Claire in the recessional

Claire in the recessional

We cheered for Claire and her friends (both old and new), cried a bit (well, at least I did), and joined the new graduates on the quad for photos, photos, and more photos.  (Yes, I was the official photographer of Claire Brown’s graduation.)

Candice and Claire

Candice celebrates with the new graduate

The Browns at Pomona

Candice, DJB, and Andrew with the graduate – the Happy Family

One of the first group of students Claire met her freshman year was the sponsor group from her dorm.  These graduating seniors met on the steps of Little Bridges after the ceremony one last time for a photo and hugs.  Of course the swim team seniors also gathered, with a large group of supporters there to cheer them on.

Freshman Sponsor Group

Freshman Sponsor Group

Swim Team Seniors

2015 Pomona-Pitzer Swim Team Seniors following graduation

There are a number of Washington-area students at Pomona and the Claremont Colleges.  One who Claire didn’t know until she arrived at Pomona is now her dear friend Ella Taranto.  Of course, Andrew used to sing with Ella’s older sister at the National Cathedral, and the Taranto’s have multiple connections to friends of ours in the DC-area.  And – no surprise here – both will be in Southern California come this fall.

Claire with Ella

Claire and Ella – they lived several miles from each other and went to high schools that were less than two miles apart, but had to travel across the country to find each other and establish a wonderful friendship

Claire’s suitemates her Sophomore and Senior years have all become very special friends.  Two – Jackie and Ali – were in her suite both years and are fellow swim team members. Kyra was in the sophomore group, and Susan joined the crew their senior year.  These are all incredibly talented and wonderful young ladies, and our entire family’s life has been enriched by knowing them.

Claire with Susan

Claire with her suitemate Susan

Claire with Jackie

Claire with her suitemate Jackie

Claire with Ali

Claire with her suitemate Ali

Sophomore and Senior Suitemates

Claire’s suitemates from her Sophomore and Senior Years – Susan (Sr), Ali (So/Sr), Jackie (So/Sr), and Kyra (So)

And the parents of these wonderful young ladies have also become friends, so we gathered for pictures – and a celebratory high-five.

Senior Parents

Vickie, Bruce, Candice, David, John, and Margaret – Parents from the Senior Suite

Parents celebrate

The parents celebrate graduation!

Sunday’s celebration ended at Union on Yale, Claire’s favorite Claremont restaurant (since Claremont Craft Ales doesn’t technically count as a restautant!).  We toasted the graduate, enjoy oysters and other good food, and reflected on the past four wonderful years at Pomona College.

At Union on Yale

Celebrating the graduate at Union on Yale – Claire’s favorite Claremont restaurant

Andrew may have said it best on his Facebook post as he jumped on the red-eye back to Boston to begin his Senior Week celebrations.

Today, I saw my twin sister and best friend graduate from Pomona College after four years of hard work, joys, challenges, and triumphs.  I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am to call you my sister.  Congratulations, Claire!  I love you.

I can’t even begin to describe how proud Mom and I are to call you our daughter.  Congratulations, and all our love.

More to come…


Remembering Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Twenty years ago today, an unspeakable horror took place at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Five years ago, I visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial, erected to memorialize the lives lost, and wrote this post about that place and the need for remembrance.

In his recent series about Why Old Places Matter?, my  colleague Tom Mayes wrote about the importance of memory.  He quotes Randall Mason in noting that “Memory is an essential part of consciousness….”  Tom adds, “Memory contributes to the sense of continuity. Memory also gives people identity—both individual identity and a collective identity.”

No place demonstrates that better than the Oklahoma City National Memorial. At the 20th anniversary of the events of April 19, 1995, this memorial continues to help us to remember, while also helping us to regain the consciousness we need as humans.

More to come…


Religious Freedom 101: A Lesson from Old Places

The First Baptist Church

A reminder from The First Baptist Church, Providence, RI

We are hearing a great deal these days about religious freedom. Much of it comes from individuals who appear – from their comments – to know little of our country’s history.  For the past three days, I’ve been immersed in a state where all Americans would be well advised to come for a class on Religious Freedom 101.

One of the truly misunderstood stories in American history is that of Rhode Island and the establishment of religious freedom. My father – that lonely breed of Southern Christian liberal – has spent the past decade or more writing letters to the editor that remind his fellow church-goers of the importance of the separation of church and state. For my part, I’ve been in Providence and Newport this week, and took the time to visit two of the landmarks of the nation’s move to ensure that all had religious freedom, including the right not to worship.

Friday, I was in Newport for a series of meetings that began at Touro Synagogue, a National Historic Landmark and an affiliate site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Standing as a landmark to religious freedom for all Americans, Touro Synagogue, dedicated in 1763, is the oldest synagogue building in the United States.  As described on the National Trust website:

A structure of exquisite beauty and design, steeped in history and ideals, the synagogue is considered one of the ten most architecturally distinguished buildings of 18th century America and the most historically significant Jewish building in the United States.

The congregation was founded in 1658 by the descendants of Jewish families who had fled the Inquisitions in Spain and Portugal and who themselves left the Caribbean seeking the greater religious tolerance that Rhode Island offered.

Touro Synagogue

Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI (Photo: National Trust for Historic Preservation)

By the time those families came to Rhode Island, the “lively experiment” that was Rhode Island was already underway.  An exhibit in the Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr. Visitor’s Center (and captured on the website) explains it best:

Rhode Island’s experience was a catalyst to the development of these values (that the acceptance of the separation of church and state was a uniquely American value).  Under the terms of its founding Charter, Rhode Island stood alone among the colonies in its desire to “hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil State may stand and best be maintained, with a full liberty of religious concernments.”

Roger Williams and his followers were convinced that religion was a matter of conscience between an individual and his God, not the government. The founding documents for Providence, Rhode Island indicate a clear division between the public, civil realm and the private world of belief:

We, whose names are here under, desirous to inhabit in the town of Providence, do promise to subject ourselves, in active or passive obedience, to all such orders or agreements as shall be made for public good of the body in an orderly way, by the major assent of the present inhabitants, masters of families, incorporated together into a town-fellowship, and such others whom they shall admit unto them, only in civil things.

“Only in civil things.” This phrase, assumed to be from the pen of Roger Williams himself, establishes the principal of religious liberty that was to become the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In the Rhode Island Colony, only matters of civil interest were to be considered by the town-fellowship. Matters of theology, doctrine, and religious practice were to be considered apart from the realm of civic discourse and within the confines of the individual consciousness or “soul-thought.”

The Charter of the Rhode Island Colony, negotiated in 1663 by Newport founder John Clark on behalf of the Rhode Island colonists from King Charles II of England, clearly demonstrates that religious freedom was the prime reason for the colony’s existence. Rhode Island’s Charter, which served as state constitution until 1842, includes this unique provision:

No person within the said Colony, at any time hereafter, shall be any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion, in matters of religion, who does not actually disturb the peace of our said Colony ; but that all and every person and persons may, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, freely and fully have and enjoy his own and their judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments, throughout the tract of land heretofore mentioned, they behaving themselves peaceably and quietly and not using this liberty to licentiousness and profaneness, nor to the civil injury or outward disturbance of others.

Touro’s unique place in American history came about in 1790, when in response to a letter from the congregation, President George Washington eloquently defined the new nation’s standard for religious freedom and civil liberties. He declared that America would…“give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

Providence – where I spent the rest of the trip – is a city that celebrates its religious history.  Few communities carry off having a “Steeple Street” with the history that Providence does.  (It is even obvious in the city’s name!)

Steeple Street

Steeple Street, Providence

The most important of those houses of worship, from a historical standpoint, is The First Baptist Church, Providence.

The First Baptist Church

The First Baptist Church, Providence, RI

Note that I didn’t write “the First Baptist Church in Providence.”  No, this is THE FIRST Baptist Church IN AMERICA. 

Historical Marker

Historical Marker on The First Baptist Church, Providence,

Coupled with the Roger Williams National Memorial, managed by the National Park Service, The First Baptist Church tells an important story that is as fresh as today’s headlines.  I’ve given a couple of speeches recently that focus on the relevance of historic places today.  Here’s what I said in the most recent one:

When we change our focus (in preservation, from buildings) to people, we become serious about relevance. In many of the places we save, and in the way we approach their conservation, we often talk about the “period of significance.” But at the National Trust we are turning that on its head, and asking, “What if the period of significance is now?”

At President Lincoln’s Cottage, where Abraham Lincoln conceived the Emancipation Proclamation, understanding that “the period of significance is now” leads us to use of the site as the springboard for exhibits, lectures, and projects that address human trafficking in the 21st century. Slavery, unfortunately, didn’t end in 1865.

Old places can be eloquent in  helping us think about how the lessons of the past inform us about today’s issues…whether those issues be human trafficking (Lincoln’s Cottage), immigration (The Lower East Side Tenement Museum), labor relations and income inequality (Pullman), or religious liberty (Touro Synagogue and The First Baptist Church).

Visit a historic site, and connect the past with today’s big issues.

More to come…


Baseball vs. Golf. No contest.

BaseballSpring is a weird time for sports.

First, there are lots of changing seasons.  Playoffs are just starting in hockey and basketball. (Do you know that WWII wasn’t as long as the NBA playoffs?) Baseball is in its first week. Golf begins to come back onto the radar screen. And those folks who think football is the only game get all excited about…the draft.  (Please. Get a life, people.)

This afternoon, I watched about all the golf I will take in on television over the course of the year – the last nine holes of the Masters.  It takes me about an hour of CBS coverage of the Masters to remind myself why I think golf is so damn pretentious and full of itself.  The hushed tones, the endless references to history, the endless paeans to Phil (I make millions of dollars, but I still complain about having to pay taxes) Mickelson. (The guy actually wears logos of a bank and an auditing firm.  That should tell you something about this “game.”) Give me a break.

After the impressive win by Jordan Spieth at the Masters, I quickly switched over to ESPN’s Baseball Tonight.  In spite of the 455th installment of Yankees vs. Red Sox on the world-wide leader in sports, it was quickly apparent why baseball vs. golf = no contest.  You have real characters in baseball, even among the announcers.  (Love Kruk’s sling…I feel like a kindred spirit.  Kruk once said, “I’m not an athlete, I’m a baseball player.”  Priceless.)  Big Papi and kids – these guys are having fun. The Nats win their second of the year, with Zim flashing some leather, despite having a team batting average well below the Mendoza Line. The Royals are mad because despite being in the World Series last year, many folks have said they won’t make the playoffs. Plus, a fun report on a Red Sox bar in the heart of New York City.  You don’t get this stuff in golf.

So bring it on.  Even if we do have the Yankees and Red Sox again tonight, golf doesn’t stand a chance.

More to come…


Tut Taylor, R.I.P.

Tut Taylor

Tut Taylor

This week we lost the third member of the Aereoplane Band when “The Flatpickin’ Dobro Man” Tut Taylor passed away at age 91.

Taylor, along with the late Vassar Clements, Norman Blake, and Randy Scruggs made up the Aereoplane Band that helped the late John Hartford record his ground-breaking album Aereo-Plain – which I once highlighted as my favorite album of all time.  (And yes, the name of the album is spelled differently from the title cut.  Hey, it was the 70s.)  I heard Tut play with Hartford’s band (Earl Scruggs opened for Hartford, if you can believe that) about 40 years ago, and I most recently heard him at MerleFest, where he was a mainstay.

Much has been written about Taylor’s unique style of playing the Dobro with a flatpick, as opposed to the finger picks used by every well-known Dobro player from Uncle Josh Graves to Jerry Douglas.  Tut Taylor was unique, and his bluesy style fit well with the fiddling of Vassar Clements and the stellar guitar work of Norman Blake.  This group has been rightly credited with starting the “newgrass” movement in Nashville, and has also been compared to a jazz quartet because of the interplay between the musicians.  They were also the strangest looking group of musicians you were likely to see in the 1970s.  Tut and Vassar looked like the country boys they were, while Hartford and Blake were wearing long hair before long hair was fashionable in Nashville.


Hartford’s hippie look on the seminal Aereo-Plain album that launched an acoustic music movement

Aereo-Plain back cover

Norman Blake, Vassar Clements, John Hartford, and Tut Taylor

As I wrote on my earlier post, for so many people who played acoustic music, Aereo-Plain gave them permission to try new things.  Sam Bush has described it as a seminal recording for the newgrass movement.  Hartford simply showed how to mix a hip, youthful sensitivity with a love for bluegrass music.  Tut Taylor was an unlikely accomplice in that work.

Taylor did more than just play on two of country music’s most influential albums of the 20th century.  He founded GTR Guitars, which is now known as Gruhn Guitars, and he also opened the Old Time Pickin’ Parlor on Second Avenue in Nashville, where I spent many a night in my college years.

But Tut will be most remembered for his help in changing the musical landscape.  Take a listen to Vamp in the Middle from Aereo-Plain.  At about the 30 second mark, Taylor starts adding in some delicious little fills that propel this tune forward.  Great stuff.

Rest in Peace, Tut Taylor.  You will be missed.

More to come…


Good-bye Basketball, Hello Baseball

Baseball/BasketballIt is a good thing I don’t bet on sports.

Last weekend, as college basketball teams were playing to reach the Final Four, I found myself in a strange position: leading my office “friendly” pool after three of the four teams had been decided.  I had Kentucky and Wisconsin. I even picked Michigan State to make it.  I never win March Madness pools or similar challenges, I don’t play fantasy anything, and I don’t bet.  (Andrew’s godfather – John Lane – says it best:  “I have the same chance of winning the lottery whether I buy a ticket or not!)

But here I was, getting giddy at the prospect of leading our pool going into the final four games.

And then my head lost out to my heart.

I so wanted Gonzaga to get into the final weekend.  I so did not want to see another Duke team in the Final Four – even if I thought they had the best chance to beat hated Kentucky. So I went with my heart…and got bumped from the top perch.

However, I was still close…until the  first game of the semi-finals, when I still could have come out okay with a Michigan State win.  The Spartans, however, were thoroughly thrashed by Duke.  Another “heart” beaten by “head” game.  But the heart had one more chance.

And the heart WON!  My main desire of this March Madness tournament was to see Kentucky lose.  I hate the one-and-done culture. And don’t get me started about John (“I didn’t know anything about those violations”) Calipari. I had picked Wisconsin to make the final, and with a glorious and fierce last 7 minutes, the Badgers pulled it out in a classic.

So, I have one more chance, although our current office pool leader (who happens to do all my finance work) also has Wisconsin to win it all, so I don’t have a chance to come out on top.  That’s okay.  If I won, I might be tempted to actually throw some money into a pool the next time around, and you know, I have the same chance of winning…

In any event, good-bye basketball. (I don’t watch the NBA.  Any sport that allows a team to take a time-out and advance the ball to the front court has decided that rules don’t matter.  That would be like allowing a football team to move the ball past the 50-yard line whenever they wanted to in the last two minutes of the game.)

Hello baseball!!

Opening day is tomorrow.  Nats vs. Mets at Nationals Park.  Max Scherzer on the mound. (Unfortunately, I will be on the road traveling, but I’ll try to catch a bit of the game.)

And to whet your appetite, check out this cool article in today’s New York Times about how long it will take to break various records in baseball.  The numbers suggest the single-season home run record could be broken again in as little as 49 years.  Batting average?  We’ll all have to wait 250+ years for that to happen!

All in all a great read about some wonderful baseball history.

Play ball!

More to come…


Basketball Couch Potato

Bulleit bourbon (photo credit: The Adventures of Sarah & Derrick)

(Photo Credit: The Adventures of Sarah and Derrick)

There are few advantages to having a cracked bone in your shoulder…but there is at least one: I can be a total couch potato during the weekend of the college basketball tournament championships.

Yes, I know that college basketball has lost its soul.  Yes, I despise the one-and-done culture that Kentucky has mastered so well, and for that I “hate” John Calapari almost as much as I hate Christian Laettner. (I don’t really hate either one, but you have to admit it is a great film title to kick off this season’s 30 for 30 on ESPN.)

But given all of that, I still enjoy the game.  Especially this weekend and next weekend, before the elite big boys take over.  On these two weekends, you can see teams that no one expects to go anywhere, suddenly get hot and destroy the best laid plans of the big boys.  You can see Albany hit its only three-pointer of the game to beat Stony Brook for a one-point win, in today’s first game.  My alma mater, Middle Tennessee, will play University Alabama-Birmingham later today.  No college elites there.

And even elite teams can be underdogs on this weekend.  UNC’s win over Virginia last evening – like Notre Dame’s over Duke – were both exciting games where the “underdog” won.

There are all sorts of key questions to be decided over this weekend.  Can Harvard beat Yale in a game that never should have happened, except that Yale blew its chance to get in the Big Dance last weekend?  Which part of the Atlantic coastline does Notre Dame’s home state of Indiana touch? Since when is Xavier and Cincinnati, Ohio located in the east? What will be Dick Vitale’s biggest outrage at the end of Selection Sunday?  How many times will Clark Kellogg call someone “The Big Fella?” Will we spend more time debating the number one seedings than we do as a country in debating to go to war?  (Okay, maybe that last one isn’t really fun.)

Next up, the SEC.  Only question here is can any team in the conference get within 20 points of Kentucky by the end of the game.  (Answer:  N0.)  I’ll probably drop Kentucky vs. Auburn to switch over and watch a bit of the MEAC Championship between Hampton and Delaware State.  I’d also check out the Atlantic 10 championship between VCU and Davidson…if I had a television package that carried it.  And since Purdue is now giving Wisconsin a run for its money, I’ll pay attention to the Big Ten semifinal.  (Motto for the 14-team conference:  “Don’t confuse us with institutions of higher learning that teach math.”)  I’ll go in and out of a number of games all the way through the UNC vs. Notre Dame ACC final that no one saw coming.

So bring it on…and maybe after five tonight I’ll have a little libation to go along with my wayward ways.

Oh, and by the way.  John Feinstein has the best idea of how to get rid of the one-and-done:  use the baseball model.

The baseball rule: Any player graduating from high school is eligible for the draft. Once he finds out where he’s drafted and what kind of money he can make to turn pro, he then decides whether to turn pro or go to college. None of this blind guessing. One of the reasons so many underclassmen put their names into the basketball draft each year is because they have agents telling them, “Don’t listen to your coach, don’t listen to any committee, I know general managers and you’ll go in the lottery. Or in the first round.”

Are they often lying? Of course they are. They can’t make any money off players who are still in college.

Remember, everyone selected in the first round of the NBA draft is guaranteed a contract. Second round and free agency? Nothing. So, if a player is drafted in the first round and the money’s guaranteed, he will probably want to sign. If not, he might want to go to college.

In baseball, if you go that route, you can’t go back in the draft for three years. That means you have to make some effort to go to class and to make academic progress. It means if you leave school after three years there’s a reasonable chance you might come back and graduate. It means that your coach isn’t recruiting your replacement before you play a single game. It means you don’t have to face the ‘are you going or not going?’ questions until your junior year. It means you might actually get to experience college. And it takes the predatory agents out of the process for two years.

Pretty simple.  For the sake of the college game, let’s do it.

More to come…



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