By Dylan Botelho, Staff Writer
We just can’t go a year without another NCAA controversy. Laundering money, prostitution, illegal shoe deals, and plenty of other recruiting violations. Every. Single. Year.
Surprisingly, it seems to always follow one man: Rick Pitino. One of college basketball’s greatest coaches of all-time will be remembered for his off-court antics and countless violations against the NCAA. Not that this corruption, isn’t wide-spread, everyone knows that it is. It just hasn’t been proven…yet.
If you’re a fan of Duke, Kentucky, or any other top level D1 basketball school don’t jump on Pitino and Louisville so soon. This stuff is happening across all elite basketball college campuses; I can almost guarantee it.
Last week’s antics seemed to be the apex of NCAA scandals, with the FBI getting involved to reveal the “dark underbelly” of college basketball.
This isn’t just your simple bribe to enroll in a certain school, no, it’s a complete system that involved shoe companies like Adidas and their partners, that starts in high school and eventually leads to a promise of a shoe deal once out of school.
An on-going inside investigation of college basketball found a huge connected web of corruption and money. Large sums of money moved between athletes, their families, coaches, schools, and sponsors.
All of this corruption and use of athlete’s abilities comes because there’s one thing the NCAA cares about, not paying the athletes.
Schools make millions upon millions of dollars on students, selling tickets to games, and even worse merchandise using their likeness and name.
The thousands of Lonzo Ball UCLA jerseys you can probably find? He’ll never see any of that money because UCLA gave him the “opportunity” to play basketball and get a very limited education for a year.
We all know how important money is to a college student. I’m no athlete and I barely have time to work. Imagine being a student-athlete at a D1 school? You don’t have time for anything other than the sport you play.
Ohio State quarterback, Cardarle Jones put it best in 2012 when he tweeted, “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we aint come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS.”
It’s blunt but… yeah. Most of those guys don’t spend more than a year at school. It’s not school, it’s just a stepping stone forced upon athletes to get the next level.
Why though? Why is it so frowned upon for player’s to even play only one year of school now, when some of the greatest basketball players of all-time like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett all skipped school?
Would first overall pick, Markelle Fultz, be any worse if he went straight to the NBA instead of playing for 9-22 Washington Huskies last season? You can’t convince me that he would.
There’s one thing all these collegiate athletes want and need. Imagine being 17 or 18 years old, straight out of high school and being told by an agent that if you go to Louisville you’ll be given thousands of dollars for just choosing to play there for one year.
A recruiter for sports agency ASM, another group being investigated in this whole scandal was blunt. “You can make millions off one kid.”
Players know they’re stock. They know that if they are skilled enough, where they play ultimately doesn’t matter as long as they get eyes on them. Take Fultz for example again, the Huskies were TERRIBLE. He’s only there for one year though and is still the number one overall pick, so who cares.
Now let’s add to that, along with getting paid just for enrolling there, you’re promised by Adidas that when you make the league you’ll get hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even millions, in a shoe deal. All these promises at 17 years old. Did you know what you were doing with your 400$ paychecks every two weeks at 17? Do you think you could handle millions at 17?
They’re taking advantages of these athletes because they’re still just kids. Kids that most come from rough places, where money is tight and there aren’t many options to get out.
Imagine at 17 being told that you can take your family out of that rough place, create a better future for them, and still have money to spend for yourself. Nobody is saying no to that, so can you blame them?
Students have to resort to this “shady” access to money where they’re in the end being taken advantage of by all these companies because they know had bad they want it. They know how unfamiliar they are with this kind of money. Until the NCAA accepts that their athletes aren’t “amateurs” and deserve to be paid, no matter the amount, this corruption will continue to happen every single year like it has. Soon you’ll hear about your favorite college basketball team being caught, about Nike and Under Armor having a hand in all of this.