College Basketball's Bribery Trial Should be Getting Much More Attention Than it is
So----if a potentially game changing, groundbreaking and potentially ruinous trial to NCAA Sports takes place and nobody covers it, did it actually happen? Or does it matter?
It clearly SHOULD matter and should be something College Basketball and possibly College Football fans should be paying attention to. I won't get into details about the largely apothetic coverage by ESPN, Fox Sports and the online community. In fact the only outlet I've found even mentioning it---CBS Sports.
If you attend, are an alumnus or fan of the University of Arizona---you REALLY should be paying attention to the Bribery Case currently being held in New York because a large chunk of the testimony thus far implicates your school in some really, really bad stuff.
Thus far---it's been a parade of witnesses, defendants who have rolled over and surveillance video and audio that have created a rather convincing case against Arizona, Head Coach Sean Miller and his top assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson.
It also as CBS's Matt Norlander lays out---provides some pretty damning implications against almost the entirety of NCAA Basketball and to a lesser extent football.
The picture painted in court isn't pretty: It essentially walks through the entire process of buying and selling athletes who agents and others believe will be stars and could lead to 7 or 8 figure paydays down the line.
Here's a short summary of how it works: Coaches (both Head Coaches and Assistants) cozy up with Agents or representatives of agents and determine what they believe it will cost to get an elite High School athlete to a certain school. Money is exchanged to secure the player for a particular school with the understanding the player will commit to the agent when it comes time to turn professional.
In many cases the players or their families who may or may not know any better take the money and commit because in large part---they come from a Universe where they need it.
No, it should not surprise any of you that players are bought and sold as commodities to certain schools, the question only is how many of them actually are part of the conspiracy.
We know about Arizona, there have been accusations against LSU Head Coach Will Wade and Wade's name has come up frequently in testimony as a coach willing to dig into his well paid pockets to pay for players.
Richardson, who plead guilty to charges levied against him earlier this year, has been testifying as a government witness. His voice and video shows him implying SEC teams and others also take part in the practice too.
Yes, I should also add here we've only heard Prosecution witnesses and testimony in the case--but it is very hard to question or debate the evidence at hand. The legal issue is a bigger question as what is alleged here sounds more like a bartering system and something that clearly violates NCAA rules as opposed to someone paying off someone else to make a decision.
And at the end of the day, how the outcome is decided may determine the punishment. Which honestly is the reason you should be paying attention to this.
We all know---and have assumed College Basketball and Football in particular have some seemly aspects to recruiting. There has to be more than a relationship based reason floods of 4 and 5 star athletes all go to the same schools.
Over the years---I have mocked and said over and over conspiracy theories are stupid and wastes of breath. This is not a conspiracy theory.
There is demonstrable proof for the first time in a long, long time the paying of players is a thing. College Basketball in particular is a broken system. It has been for decades. It's a system partially funded by Sneaker Companies and now it appears wanna be agents.
Basketball used to be in a bygone era a sport like the rest where players played in Youth Leagues followed by High School, College and the Pros. It's now "Travel Teams", "AAU Teams" both of whom are funded largely by the Sneaker Companies. It's no longer about High School Coaches and relationships with College Recruiters---it's about the Travel or AAU coach and their ties to Schools who wear their apparel or have an agent looking for a big score.
Finally someone has called out this system that favors and works primarily for elite athletes at the expense of everyone else.
The big question though is this: If the feds take down a few schools, agents and coaches for taking part in this---will anyone actually notice? Or care????