Most have seen or heard the news that came out of Yahoo.com’s article posted yesterday referencing the FBI’s investigation into corruption of college basketball and the teams and players involved. It is deep and extensive.
“Documents and bank records obtained in discovery during the federal investigation into the underbelly of college basketball detail in meticulous fashion the expenditures of prominent former NBA agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins and his agency, ASM Sports. They include expense reports and balance sheets that list cash advances, as well as entertainment and travel expenses for high school and college prospects and their families.”
I do have to laugh at the sheer stupidity of these sports agents who not only break the laws and rules but document it so damn clearly and well:
Here they are:
North Carolina State
Penn State (late entry)
Iowa State??? They are 13-14 this season. Should have saved thier money.
What gets me is that the you would think most of these schools like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas etc… the biggest Top Dog BB schools… could get along well without have to resort to this level of cheating.
Which brings me back to the discussion we had on here after I posted up the article about Pitt’s hiring a 5* recruit’s father. In that I argued that I believed it was a move that should have been avoided… but I also wrote that in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t earthshaking. My belief then, reiterated 100 fold after reading this report, is that sports are meant to be, and should be, an addition to a University’s mandate of higher education… and not a main component of it.
Of course we are talking about Pitt’s recent doings as the size of a flea compared to some of the listed school’s criminal doings that are Indian Elephant sized. And believe me the FBI will find some criminal charges in this case.
But I do have to ask some Pitt fans why they are finger pointing and expressing outrage that these schools and sports agents did these things on such a massive scale when I read some comments almost wishing Pitt would do the same to have more successful football and basketball teams?
I truly hope no Pitt fan actually wants his university to be lumped in with these schools in these pay for play probes… and least I’d like to believe that. But when you start skirting standards, regulations and laws where does it stop?
I believe the reasons for these sorts of cheating on such a massive scale is a lust that manifests itself in desperately chasing championships. Pure and simple. The closer you get to the winning championships the better off your program will be in the long run. But again, why cheat at such an obvious and large extent then?
It isn’t for school pride. Not at all. It is to line the pockets of the head coaches, staff coaches and in a lesser turn, the athletic department principles.
Greed is the reason here. Well, add ego to that also. The more you win the more salary and bonuses you can command. The bigger that pot is the bigger that feed’s into the ego.
Look at the last two seasons’ Top 15 schools and compare them to the list above, 2015 is on the left, 2016 on the right:
You can clearly see which teams were cheating in the Top 15s shown above. Hell, in 2015 alone the final top four schools are on that cheater’s list, and I’m sure we can go back even farther and those same schools will show up time and again.
Notice you don’t see Pitt anywhere on that list, or in the news for any other improper actions that could result in charges or NCAA sanctions. And you know what? I want it to stay that way. No Jamie Dixon references show up anywhere, no paying players to come to Pitt or their family members getting cash to make it happen. Hell, Pitt isn’t in a basketball hotbed area and didn’t cheat and still Dixon had a fantastic won-loss record here. That shows you can have success doing it the right way.
Isn’t that a great thing and something to hang your Pitt Script ball cap on? That’s why I don’t want Pitt to stand anywhere close to the edge of a very slippery slope when it comes to even bending rules to win.
How would you like it if you found out your hard-earned money that you gave freely as donations to the Pitt athletic department were being used to cheat the system? I’d be pissed as hell as I think most of you would also.
People who take this slime covered low road get a taste of it; they get away with it for a while and want more and more from it. As the heroin pushers say ‘Hey kid, this first one’s free.” But it really isn’t. You pay for it over and over again and because you feel it necessary to have to survive you stay with it.
Some coaches, players and family members may not care what their public reputation is as long as their very closed society peer group thinks they are hot stuff and that’s too bad really. Take the money and run and while you’re at it let everyone know what a great player your kid is.
The parents especially disgust me and don’t blow any socio-economic crap onto this. The fact that their kid could get an above-board scholarship with free room and board for four years – to say nothing of a good education, degree and a career after his playing days are over – should be monetary favors enough. But when they take cash or other considerations to get their son to go to a particular school they are pimping their son out just as others pimp out ass.
These actions don’t help the universities and colleges in the long run but truly, when has anyone who actively engages in this level of bad behavior cared about the long run anyway?
Everyone has hard choices in life. You do the next right thing or you don’t. That’s a personal decision and can have great rewards or hellish consequences. I have been around the block about a hundred times and have been exposed to people in every walk of life… from blue bloods to the homeless in the woods to people in their end-of-life death beds and I can say one thing for certain – when someone is in their golden years or on the way out of this life they want to be able to look back and truly know – not believe but know – they were a good person and did what always was proper to help their families and others they associated with.
That is a bedrock of decent community and society. If you look at these stories coming out of the sports world and think ‘it’s no big deal’ then here’s some news – you’ve got a problem of your own.
From the universities of Penn State to Baylor to MSU to these schools now – each and every one of them were created and are sustained to instill knowledge and leadership qualities in their students, and that includes their student athletes.
My God – read this list of the 25 worst college sports scandals and tell me if your stomach doesn’t turn while doing so, and that is just the 25 worse, there are more than that. As far as these latest scandals:
From the NCAA President Mark emmert:
“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. 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,” the statement read. “Following the Southern District of New York’s indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport.
With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”
I had a long conversation about all this with my North Carolina cousins and their spouses over last weekend when I visited down there for their Mom’s 102 birthday (She’s a 1937 Pitt grad and a huge Pitt fan) while they all went to either Duke, North Carolina or North Carolina State. Crazy sports fans all.
One asked me what I would think if Pitt was involved in these dealings – what would I want to happen? My answer was this: I would rather see Pitt football and BB de-emphasized before we had to resort to large-scale cheating to try to win games. I wouldn’t blink an eye. I am firm on that. As much as I love Pitt football and as much energy and time I put into this Pitt football blog I wouldn’t argue if they had to go for the sake of the university’s reputation.
But then again it is easy for me to contemplate that because I 100% believe Pitt won’t ever do so. We talk about the semi-shady dealings that went on with the Majors era team and with Sherrill and afterward with the Golden Panthers and really most of that is way overblown by the fans. Things were slid around a bit but it was nothing on the scale of what we see happening these days – and Pitt has always self-reported anything close to internal impropriety to the NCAA while unbidden to do so. There is a real reason we have such a clean record in that regard and that’s because Pitt doesn’t overemphasize athletics.
Basketball (and football) just aren’t as important to the University of Pittsburgh as it obviously is to the schools on the list above – and when that softer attitude is in place, like it or not, it is easier to play by the rules.
It’s not so easy for my Carolina folks and friends though as they are so immersed in big-time college basketball down there they can’t imagine it not being huge part of their lives. Football not so much, but college BB is King. Although three of them did tell me they have stopped their donations to North Carolina’s athletic department and shifted more into the General fund (and they are the type who can drop big bucks on something like that as opposed to this poor-mouse cousin of theirs).
I like how Pitt comports itself in all ways. I won’t debate the firings in the football program over the last two decades but I’ll say without equivocation that they were done with the University’s good name and sterling reputation in mind as well even over results on the field of play. But show me any other D1 FBS team who got rid of its two most successful and winning head football coaches in a row…
That is unusual in this day and age and while the more rabid Pitt fans may not like or agree with it – that is how Pitt does their business in this regard and I think will continue to do.
Are we squeaky clean? No, I’m sure we have some things not advertised hanging around somewhere, but we aren’t down in the dirt either and that is a world of difference.
What the hell is up with Michigan State? They are the poster boy for crap behavior with the scandal in the covering up sexual assault crimes and now this pay-for-play business.
The good news for Pitt fans in all this is that if Pat Narduzzi has any sense at all he’ll stay as far away from MSU as he possibly can. Of course Pitt doesn’t fit any sort of institutional model behavior so who knows what may happen then.
Our Pitt Spring Game is going to be on Saturday April 14th this year which means we’ll start spring practices around Thursday March 14th or so. Thank the Lord soon we can get back to talking about real football issues on here again. As every year I’ll try to get up for a few practices and especially this 2018 Media Day which is done so well at Pitt.
After that 5-7 season last year we’ve had a pretty down offseason and people have been testy on here – myself included. Let’s start getting back into the football mode and start taking some detailed looks at the prospective 2018 team and it’s players with fresh eyes and a blank slate. I’ll try my best with that also. Some of our long-term readers and commenters have dropped out of sight for a while and let’s welcome them back with open arms – we need all the best minds on here just as we need to respect everyone’s viewpoints.
Please submit some topics you’d like to see me write about in advance of Spring Practice and keep submitting those great articles for posting – I have used every single one you all have sent in and they have been getting some of the best comments discussions we have had on here, so thank you for that.