There is so much wrong in what was released from the FBI’s investigation into college basketball Tuesday - and there’s surely more to come - it’s hard to know where to start.
Where to end is much easier.
Say it with me.
Pay (clap emoji).
The (clap emoji).
Players (clap emoji).
Or at least allow them to benefit off their likeness, allowing third parties to handle the delicate discussion of who deserves what.
Over the past 20 years, at least, the NCAA’s amateur model absorbed body punch after body punch with each report of paying players.
Tuesday’s report - which features a top player accepting money from Adidas representatives in exchange for a commitment to Louisville and financial planners or agents bribing college assistants to direct NBA talents their way when the time comes to go pro - should be the knockout punch, and the NCAA should leave its model on the canvas.
While Adidas is the brand and Louisville, Arizona and Oklahoma State are among the programs in the spotlight, they’re just the ones that got caught.
I have a feeling this becomes a much larger deal involving more brands and schools as more detail emerges.
The problem with the model is there’s too much at stake for those at the top. If the NCAA expects everyone to follow the rules to the letter of the law when coaches are playing for five- and six-figure bonuses, I’m envious of the naivete. It takes one person or program to bend the rules and profit for another to duplicate the process. It grows exponentially from there until those that play by the rules are in the minority.
That’s where it appears we’re at now, and at this point, it’s too big a problem for the NCAA to fix.
Ethically speaking, I’m not sure who’s more wrong between those programs that break the rules to share the revenue with student-athletes and the programs that funnel the millions into bonuses and facility upgrades.
We learned the NCAA was incapable - if not uninterested - in policing its members. I have to believe if the FBI thought the NCAA could aid the investigation, it would have sought help from the organization instead of keeping it in the dark with the rest of the public.
Unfortunately, it’s nothing new. It’s just the most damning.
The best way to right those wrongs is to change what’s been wrong.
Cheating will still exist if players get paid, but then I could at least be mad about it. And the FBI could allocate its resources to more important matters.
If you’re interested on how this stuff works at the highest level, this is a favorite read of mine. https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2014/4/10/5594348/college-football-bag-man-interview
To the tunes… After years of critical acclaim, The War on Drugs has finally found a level of commercial success with their latest release, A Deeper Understanding. If you’re first reaction was ‘Sounds like Bob Dylan,’ you’re not alone, but it’s worth digging into on a deeper level. It’s a wide-ranging album that you can definitely get lost in, especially in the 11-minute journey that is “Thinking of a Place.” I would guess it ends up on a lot of Best of 2017 lists.