By BRENNAN PRUSAK
Yahoo Sports published documents on Friday containing information from the FBI’s probe into college basketball’s corruption and it could alter the future of the sport itself.
With big name programs like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, and others being listed for potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families, college basketball is under a microscope with nowhere to hide. What’s interesting is that coverage has not been scrutinizing these teams for breaking the rules, but has instead been looking at the rules themselves and the NCAA.
The NCAA and its members are essentially a brand that makes money off of college kids, but doesn’t pay them. Meanwhile, these same kids aren’t allowed to make any money themselves off of their talents. While the NCAA and its members are making billions of dollars off of college basketball players, they are quick to turn around and deem them ineligible to play if they receive any benefits.
While the violations range from an agent buying Duke star Wendell Carter Jr dinner to Deandre Ayton receiving about $100,000 to play for Arizona, it doesn’t really matter whether a player receives a dollar or a million. College athletes can’t get paid for their talents and services, nor can they market them in any way.
While the FBI is punishing schools and players for breaking the rules set by the NCAA, it is interesting to see former and current players along with college and professional analysts side with the young athletes. A common theme is rising to the surface as more and more voices weigh in, and it’s becoming evident that the real villain in this story is the NCAA, and that it is almost laughable that the players see no return from the profit that they are responsible for.
“Don’t play in the NCAA tournament,” Jalen Rose, a former NBA player and current NBA Reporter, said. “Send a message young fellas … go for the money.”
Perhaps the best course of action is to go right after the NCAA where it hurts them the most; their pockets. If the players can’t make any money, than neither can the NCAA, who deem it fair that they should be able to keep every penny of the $10.8 billion that the TV deal for march madness will bring them during the next 14 years. But the players, who are the sole reason for the tournament’s popularity, will see none of it, and be deemed ineligible to play if they want to sell their own autographs.