Pat Forde & Pete Thamel (Yahoo! Sports, AABA) have published several damning articles implicating at least 20 players and over 2 dozen Colleges and Universities in the NCAA’s corruption case. Citing “hundreds of pages of documents” recovered from the FBI’s investigation, emails between runner Christian Dawkins and agent Andy Miller (ASM Sports) and a spreadsheet (detailing expenditures) maintained by Dawkins as evidence, the stories paint a picture of an amateur system that is failing. Nearly every top program (UNC, Duke, MSU) is referenced, with payments ranging from $70 lunches (Miles Bridges, MSU) to $73,500 in loans (Dennis Smith Jr., NC State). It is important to distinguish between the FBI investigation (bribery, travel act conspiracy etc.) that has resulted in the arrest of 4 coaches and the one the NCAA will conduct (upon completion of the FBI investigation) related to impermissible benefits (players, teams in Forde/Thamel stories).
Howie Long-Short: Pay-to-play scandals have been going on since at least the early 80’s (great 30 for 30 called Pony Excess, here’s the trailer), so this isn’t a new phenomenon; what’s new this time around, is the FBI’s involvement. Landmark changes are coming to college athletics, but until the NBA allows H.S. prospects to enter the draft again, a black market will continue to exist. As the #1 pick in the 2017 draft, Markelle Fultz will earn $15.36 million over the first 2 years of his contract. There’s simply no way he can be compensated fairly (relative to the value he brings to the University) playing a year of college basketball. If he took $10,000 from ASM Sports under the current system (as alleged), a nominal stipend isn’t preventing him from taking it in the future.
Fan Marino: Late Friday evening, ESPN (DIS) reported that the FBI had intercepted a call between Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller and Dawkins relating to a $100,000 payment, meant to ensure 5-star prospect Deandre Ayton enrolled at the school. Dick Vitale wasted no time calling for Miller’s immediate dismissal, despite Mark Schlabach (wrote story) never personally hearing the audio recording (or having read the transcript) or applying any logical thought to the report before speaking; Ayton committed to AZ in Sept. ’16, the alleged FBI call was said to have been recorded in June 2017. Miller may be guilty, but a conversation (that may or may not have happened) about a potential payment and having evidence money changed hands, are two different things. Calling for someone’s job based on hearsay is irresponsible at best, malicious at worst and Vitale’s look-at-me schtick has been tired since the late 90s. It’s time for ESPN to retire him.
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