NCAA Scandal: Is it time to start paying college athletes?

Sean Miller, the head coach, of the Arizona University Wildcats, was caught bribing a recruit with $100,000.

Sean Miller, the head coach, of the Arizona University Wildcats, was caught bribing a recruit with $100,000.

Zach Gitlin, Staff Writer

The NCAA March Madness tournament started on March 15, yet the focus of college basketball has been far from the tournament in recent months.

Four assistant coaches have been arrested since September, all from powerhouse schools across the country.  The four coaches arrested back in September were Lamont Evans from Oklahoma State, Chuck Pearson from Auburn, Emmanuel Richards from Arizona, and Tony Bland from the University of Southern California.

All four men were arrested for attempting to bribe players to join their programs, and they had all been under investigation by the FBI since 2015.

James Gatto, the director of global sports marketing of Adidas was also charged.  He was accused of funneling money from Adidas to Evans, Pearson, Richards, and Bland to high school prospects.  However, the root of the corruption in the NCAA dates back years before anything was uncovered this past September.

Louisville University is one of the biggest NCAA basketball powerhouses of the twenty-first century.  Winning the March Madness tournament in 2013, head coach Rick Pitino appeared to be headed to Springfield.

However, in the federal investigation, Louisville was uncovered as guilty in the recent scandal. Authorities discovered that the Kentucky powerhouse had funneled money from Adidas to two different prospects in high school.  The end result was Pittino’s eventual firing on Oct 16, 2017.

One of the most instrumental figures involved in both Louisville’s scandal and the NCAA scandal as a whole was former NBA agent Christian Dawkins.  He was arrested on charges of making payments to each of the four assistants and was also involved in paying off multiple prospects whom Louisville were attempting to bring to their program.

As more news was revealed by the federal investigation of the NCAA, multiple pro players began to speak out about what they experienced throughout the recruiting process.

According to documents, Dennis Smith Jr., both the ACC Freshman of the Year and candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year, received a five-figure payment from his alma mater, North Carolina State University.  Other players include rookie Bam Adebayo, who also received a five figure payment from Kentucky.  Players also received monetary payments from schools like Washington, Utah, South Carolina, and Kansas, including first overall pick Markelle Fultz, Kyle Kuzma, P.J. Dozier, and Josh Jackson, respectively.

“The NCAA is corrupt. We know that,” said LeBron James.  He continued later to say, “We wouldn’t be poor for long,” while discussing if he had taken the route of the NCAA and not declared for the 2003 NBA Draft.

“Everyone knows everyone is getting paid,” said current Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball on the scandal.

While the NCAA scandal continues to make national headlines, the students of Schreiber also have turned in varying opinions on the scandal shaking college basketball.

“I think that the coaches who are allowing any payments to be going on should be banned,” said sophomore Justin Tawil.  “It is a true disgrace to the NCAA as a whole, and this is an unfortunate time for the sport of basketball altogether, as we see it continues to rock both the high schools and pros as well.”

Now that more people within the sports world are becoming aware of just how influential this new scandal may be, it has become an increasingly dangerous time for the NCAA.  The possibility of other alternatives to college hoops have arisen, as many people have begun to call for a removal of the “corrupt” system.

“It shows a weak NCAA. These scandals have been going on for years and I think that the system must be remodeled” said sophomore Mitchell Klee.

Just around a week ago, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced a plan to begin to strengthen pro-teams’ relationships with young high school players. A possibility to the end of the “One-and-Done” rule could spell a major decrease in the productivity of NCAA basketball.

What some have called the beginning of the end for the NCAA Men’s Basketball program came on March 1, when Sean Miller, the Arizona Wildcats’ head coach, was caught on a wiretap discussing a possible payment to star player Deandre Ayton.

Miller was caught saying he would pay Ayton $100,000 to play at his school, which Ayton later committed to do.

The NCAA appears to be taking a turn for the worst. As scandals continue to pour in from former and current college stars alike, the NCAA is scrambling to fix the mess that has been created over the years.

No one can predict with certainty what will come next for college basketball. Although news coverage of the scandal will probably die down for a while due to March Madness, this is not the last we’ll hear about the situation. The mess created by the NCAA is only beginning.