Mama Madden Speaks: AAU Basketball

Twitter has been on an explosive rampage since yesterday when AAU basketball announced the decision to apply an age based requirement for grades 7U-14U at the #aauconvention. Per leadership, high school ages 15-19 will follow the age/grade criteria with the old grade exception rule applying.   See and click old rules prior to the new ruling….

Old AAU Guidelines

AAU Basketball is expected to blast the new guidelines officially next week following the AAU Convention. Until then, this is the tweet that caused the frenzy:


Why the fuss or excitement? Well, for those of you who have been hiding under a rock…for years now an enormous flock of coaches, parents, “funders” and organizations have all trampled over an exception ruling that was supposed to be a general concession for students who have failed for LEGITIMATE academic needs. The consensus is that it is time to curve the cheating:


twitter conversation
What we have seen, is a platform of adults exploiting not only the academic struggles of grade school youth but the lack of parental presence and social stability that exist in their lives. While one (who am I kidding…While MANY) might argue that these students could be in far worst places…we should applaud these coaches for taking time with these kids.
Even if I did extend a round of applause ( and to some extent I do), I can’t fully comprehend why these superhero coaches who claim to have the best interest of these players at heart wouldn’t take just one additional step in the direction of morality and place these kids amongst peers in their same age group. I mean, wouldn’t you still be using basketball as a mentor avenue???

My  Mama Madden intuition tells me that doing so would then ruin the much sought after attention, social media hype, sponsorship funds and a second/third/fourth shot at basketball stardom (by living vicariously through these players) that you coaches salivate over. #noshade #mamamaddenspeaks

I am an educator who has serviced what could potentially be thousands of students in my professional career and yet, you have these grown folk trying with all their might to convince me that a kid standing 6’1 (which is not the issue…some come tall) with facial hair and underarm tree bushes (developmental maturity and mannerism IS the issue) is really a 10 year old fifth grader. STOP IT!! PLEASE STOP IT. It’s ridiculous and #AAU has finally determined that enough is enough.

As additional updates are released, MAMA Madden will be sure to update you. In the meantime, I would love to be a fly on the wall of the conscious of these daddies who have worked meticulously to determine that at 4th grade their kid needed another 2 or 3 years of maturity to be successful on the basketball court in school. I would love to be a fly on the wall of all those great minds who decided to homeschool in the name of sports hoping to avoid true accountability, while planning their child’s basketball domination of players 2-3 years younger than them. #mamasyouguiltytoo

I suppose it is worth the acknowledgement that the unfortunate few players (given the grand scheme of things) who are unfairly caught in the sweeping change are those players who were legitimately held back for academic reasons by a year. (I’m sorry two years removed…BASKETBALL SHOULDN’T”T EVEN BE A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION)

So for the unfortunate few you can THANK the following :
1.) Parents who actually re-classed their grade school students with the joyous expectations of seeing their seed slaughter youth two to three years younger(most of which haven’t even entered any real stage of puberty). WE HEARD YOUR RIDICULOUS CHEERING IN THE STAND AND SO DID SOME AAU Leaders.

2.) Parents and coaches whose players are not actually re-classed but faking under the guise of the grade exception rule. We also heard your ridiculous cheering at the middle school football game when you thought no one attended…just a day before you showed up to play 4th grade AAU basketball. According to ya’ll— EVERYBODY HAD A LATE BIRTHDATE!!!

3.) Tournament directors who have turned the cost of protesting into an all-out revenue generating affair when you knew without a doubt that your GOLD BRACKET FINALS was nothing more than a battle of OLD KIDS IN THE WRONG GRADES. #justtakethegradebracketsoffthewallplease

4.) Parents who forgot they happily announced their kids’ real age birthday celebrations on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but showed up to play against their friends little brothers at the tournaments. Yes, I snoop and I have investigated so many of you so called top teams in the country. It would have been a tad bit wiser to decide as an organization that your parents were forbidden to celebrate real milestones on social media. #youshouldbeashamed

5.) The academic professionals who continue to let these kids who are struggling academically to continue to do so regardless of their social situation. I have seen arguments on twitter about how this new rule is unfair for kids who don’t have food at home or  lights but are expected to be successful in school!!!  Ummmm, yes  YOU ARE CORRECT… they should be expected to pass (just as you expect them to play basketball as a rule exception…I as an exceptional teacher expect that they will defy their situations by passing in the classroom FIRST). So, because this is bigger than basketball, I despise all who take part in perpetuating the long standing DEFICIT THEORY that has haunted the academic success of too many of our African American boys. #researchthat

As it stands now, parents, coaches and these God forsaken ranking sites will no longer have the advantage of building “hype” around their players name during grade school, while “preying” playing amongst the young….well at least on the AAU stage.  We all know when one door closes the truest of con men will create another one.

For all the distraught…you should stand on the argument that so many of you have used for years as the MAMA MADDENS of the world complained while our babies  ballers developed and played your full grown teenagers. The greatest advantage that your player now have is the opportunity to play against boys who are physically and mentally comparable in age. By the time your reclassed player and his grade level counterparts reach high school, yours will have had the advantage of having competed against better talent. SMILE!!!   You know…in the same way you argued that our kids have benefited for so many years by playing against your old son. The tables are turned now… until then see ya IN HIGH SCHOOL or better yet the signing table!!

And shout out to all the organizations doing it right…this is but an example that in the long run your good deeds will certainly payoff.  KEEP WORKING…KEEP DEVELOPING…KEEP BUILDING.


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