I’d like to laugh. I’d like to give analogies about glasshouses and whatnot. But by now, what’s the point? Breaking rules aren’t the issue. It has never been, the rules are the problem.
Anybody that’s paid attention knows this has been going on. It’s a reality. The purity that you’re sold on in the great world of collegiate athletics is bullshit. Today was another step towards confirming that.
Early Friday Morning another bombshell dropped in the unfolding FBI investigation into College Basketball. Yahoo Sports detailed findings from its review of “hundreds of pages of documents” from the investigation. Enclosed in those documents are the details of how agencies like ASM do business. Current Kentucky Freshman Kevin Knox was named in the report for having lunch that may or may not have been paid for by ASM. Also, former Kentucky players Nerlens Noel, Bam Adebayo along with former Louisville player, Juan Palacios were also implicated for taking “loans” from ASM — with Bam Adebayo’s $36,500 “bad loan” being the highest amount of the group.
In a lot of these cases the scenarios are as follows:
“Let me buy you a meal and talk to you about joining our agency once you go pro.”
“Let me loan you money to improve your current situation. If you join my agency, you don’t have to repay it. If you don’t join, we’ll figure something out.”
It’s not uncommon throughout other professional ranks to do whatever you can to lore top talent. That is if you live in reality. The NCAA doesn’t quite do that.
NCAA President Mark Emmert released a statement calling it a “systematic failure”. Another tone-deaf moment from a captainless ship.
A statement that attempted to shift the blame to the adults who are giving college kids money, rather than the rules themselves. College kids who exploited by everyone else. College kids, who put their livelihood on the line while a select group of old white men makes millions. Sure, Mark. Systematic failure.
Joe Paterno running free, unchecked, around Penn State for 20 years was a systematic failure.
Baylor, the entire athletic department, was a systematic failure.
Tom Izzo hitting you with an essential ‘no comment’ after allegations of covering up a culture of rape at Michigan State is, too.
This is a kid getting a couple grand from an agent so his parents can pay the rent on time. A couple grand that he earns for his University in about ten minutes on the court. This is a kid getting a steak paid for, and because of that, possibly losing his college eligibility (and a chance to market himself ). It’s stupid, as a matter of fact, it’s repulsive. It’s the ultimate hustle. When Ice Cube made “No Vaseline” in 1991, he was referring to the NCAA?
Everything needs to change. How? I’m not exactly sure. There are many routes you can go, luckily I don’t have to come with the answer. When you look at the circumstances most of the players face, it’s difficult to find fault in them taking money. In fact, it’s easier to find fault in them taking too little. They often come from poverty-stricken backgrounds that offer little opportunity. You know the story. College Sports are the way out. They are also the only profession in America where we tell people they can’t make money for being better than their peers.
The feds are wasting time, effort, and taxpayer money to tell you that a kid made some money for shooting hoops. Who gives a shit? Our very structure of democracy may be at stake, but sure, please, by all means, continue with this old-testament approach to keep the scared sport wholesome. If there is anything I’m more tired of, I’m not sure I’ve found it yet. Maybe Marco Rubio, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Enough with the nonsense. Enough with the amateurism label. Fix the system. Let the kids make their bread. It isn’t a problem, it has never been.
Photoshopped top photo by Bryce Wood (@woodymlb4)