College basketball under scrutiny with allegations of illegal compensation

SHEREEN LEE / AGGIE

Latest allegations could have lasting repercussions

Recruiting violations are nothing new to the NCAA, with all-too-common allegations of financial misconduct by schools, coaches, and athletes dominating the headlines every few months. Fresh off of the high-profile allegations of corruption and taking bribes against former Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, which led to his dismissal and a forfeiture of the team’s 2013 national title, the NCAA is once again entrenched in scandal, this time stemming from an FBI investigation into under-the-table payments made to players.


The latest allegations, which were first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde and Pete Thamel, highlight a series of under-the-table payments which were allegedly made to players through a network that included agents and shoe companies in order to secure their commitments to the schools. Several big-name schools across the nation found themselves included in the report, including Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Texas. The players who are alleged to have participated in these deal include NBA rookies such as Philadelphia 76er Markelle Fultz and Dallas Maverick Dennis Smith Jr.


Also included in the scandal is current Arizona center and Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year Deandre Ayton, who, along with head coach Sean Miller, denied accepting any money despite claims that Miller was caught on wiretap discussing the alleged payments. Miller was suspended one game as a result of the situation, with further punishment pending the results of an independent investigation.
Should the allegations prove true, the NCAA would be forced to crack down on many of the biggest schools in the nation. While countless scandals have come and gone throughout the years, none have been this widespread. NCAA President Mark Emmert addressed the controversy in a statement.


“These Allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America,” Emmert said. “Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules.”
Consequences for financially dubious practices vary, depending on the scope of each individual situation. Schools can face anything from fines, sanctions, and loss of scholarships, to the dreaded “death penalty,” where the school is banned from competition for at least a year at a time. The current controversy continues a long history of similar allegations against schools both small and large.

Every time a controversy like this hits, a similar debate rages on over the ethics of the NCAA’s policy of not allowing players to accept any money for their services. Despite the fact that students across the nation find ways to get paid for student work, the NCAA strictly prohibits its players from accepting any money for their services to the school. Among countless complaints, opponents of the NCAA’s strict adherence to this policy point out the salaries of coaches, who often make millions, and the revenue which the high-profile sports such as football and basketball bring to the schools.


Investigations such as this can drag on for years, but if the evidence is proven, the NCAA could face the largest crisis it has ever seen.

 

Written by: Bradley Geiser — sports@theaggie.org