By: John McCormack:
On Feb. 23, Yahoo! Sports published an article detailing the FBI’s investigation into the possible corruption of college basketball. The report got the attention of basketball fans across the world, as some of the biggest schools in college basketball were named in the article. Schools like Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, Kansas, Louisville, and Arizona were all listed in the report detailing the potential violations of NCAA rules, including paying for players to attend their schools.
However, of the schools named, only two were greatly affected by the report: the University of Louisville and the University of Arizona.
The first domino to fall was former Louisville Men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, who according to The Associated Press, was put on administrative leave back on Sept. 27 and fired on Oct. 16. This came a day after an ESPN report stating 10 people were charged with fraud and corruption.
One of those 10 people was James Gatto, a former executive at Adidas. Gatto was indicted for allegedly using Adidas and their money to pay high school athletes in the hundred of thousands to play for Adidas sponsored schools, like Louisville. Because of this FBI report and Pitino having full knowledge of Gatto’s motives, the University of Louisville was forced to fire the veteran coach.
In the tweet below from SportsCenter, Pitino denies he took money from Gatto, and he even took a lie detector test to prove his innocence.
On Feb. 25, ESPN reported the FBI had wiretaps from University of Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller about paying a recruit, who later turned out to be Deandre Ayton, $100,000 to ensure he comes to Arizona. Unlike Pitino, Miller was neither fired nor suspended. He did, however, not coach the game against Oregon due to the ongoing investigation, and Ayton was still eligible to play.
According to a Sports Illustrated article, Miller denies these reports by ESPN and is considering pursuing legal action against ESPN for defamation.
According to USA Today, the NCAA took in $996 million in total revenue in 2016, and athletes saw $0 of that. Which brings up the age-old question: Should college athletes get paid?
When Jimmy Donlan, a junior rugby player at Bowdoin College, was asked if college athletes should be paid he response was mixed.
“I don’t think they should get contracts like NBA players or anything like that, but I do think they should be getting a portion of the jersey sales. Everyone knows a number 2 Texas A&M jersey is Johnny Manziel, and he should see some of that money.” Donlan said.
Unlike normal college students, Division One athletes are not allowed to have a job because of the massive time commitment they have with their sport. Donlan also added the NCAA should step up and give these athletes some money for food and books.
“They should get a living stipend from the school because it’s not possible for them to go to class, play their sport, and have a job to support themselves.” he said. “It’s absurd that these athletes sometimes have to go to bed hungry because they didn’t want to take some money to go get a meal and risk eligibility.” he added.
Nate Trznadel, a junior ROTC student at Assumption College, also put his two cents in on paying college athletes.
“I think you have to give them some of the money.” he said. “These players bring in big bucks to their school from athletic events, TV deals, and from using their likeness and they still see none of it.” he said.
If you are a college student or athlete you are affiliated with the NCAA either directly or indirectly. Assumption College being a NCAA division two school is affected by the “pay-for-player” scandals. Players, coaches, students, and fans wonder if all schools are doing this or is it just a few who got caught and are now trying fix it. Should college athletes get paid for using their image and likeness because they make massive amounts of money for their schools?
The FBI investigations are ongoing. Miller and his Arizona Wildcats played a great season and were rewarded with the chance of winning an NCAA championship. But, the number four seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament was shocked by the number 13 seed, the University of Buffalo in the first round. It’s unclear what the future holds for Miller and the other programs named in the FBI report.
But one last question, do you think college athletes should be paid?