A different type of March Madness

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A dark cloud has formed over the landscape of college basketball. Recent allegations have risen out of the shadows about college basketball teams breaking the rules in regard to securing recruits and helping maintain players’ eligibility. Before schools like Arizona, Michigan State, North Carolina,. etc started to raise suspicion it all started with the Louisville’s mens’ basketball team. Louisville was in a lot of hot water with the allegations of the team breaking NCAA rules in order to gain commitments from top ranked recruits. Two scandals including the incidents involving stripper parties which caused the Cardinals to deduct wins from the 2011 through 2015 season. And to top it all off, last week the NCAA took away the 2013 NCAA Championship resulted in the third banner in the program’s history to be taken down.

That enough was a hard pill to swallow, but not only did the Cardinals lose their wins and championship, but late last year, they lost their beloved coach Rick Pitino, along with the athletic director Tom Jurich. Allegedly, recruits were enticed to commit to the UofL with strippers and the promise of sex with recruits and players. Katina Powell was the ringleader behind the parties happening in dorm rooms on the campus. She would later speak of these events in a book, where she mentioned that she was “being paid to hold these parties for the players and recruits.” But that was not the end of the Cardinals troubles. With the involvement of the FBI, later findings would show that Adidas, on behalf of the University of  Louisville had paid the father of five star recruit Brian Bowen in exchange for his son’s commitment to the school. However, as of last week, Louisville is not the only school to be in hot water for allegedly paying for commitments.

Other schools in the mix include North Carolina State and their alleged payment for breakout rookie Dennis Smith Jr., before his time at the school, along with Isaiah Whitehead receiving a five figure payment during his time at Seton Hall.  But the most recent innocent in regards to the alleged payment to secure recruits would be at the University of Arizona. The situation at Arizona claims that the FBI wiretapping intercepted telephone conversations involving  head coach Sean Miller and a man by the name of Christian Dawkins. During the telephone it is alleged that Miller discussed paying $100,000 to ensure the 7’1” superstar’s commitment to Arizona. No sanctions have been enforced upon the University of Arizona at this time. The incidents do not only involve payment or promised gifts to bag recruits,  how about a University using an academic fraud scheme to ensure the eligibility of their players? Over at the University of North Carolina findings would show that there had been “fake” classes that would be ensure that the athletes would be able to play. Even though there were no sanctions against the school for regular students had the ability to take said classes, who’s to say that the same situation is not happening at other universities? But this investigations have shown that at these basketball universities, there is a dark side.

The future of college basketball, as of now, seems very bleak with many of the “blue blood” programs being linked to FBI investigations. The FBI has proven that they will stop at nothing until the landscape of college basketball is washed away with the people who are rocking it at its core. It is heartbreaking to the players who are punished for the actions of few and to have things, like National Championships, taken away. The hopes of the FBI and for many people who love and cherish college basketball is that this dark cloud that has formed will soon break into clear skies and sunshine. But until then, anyone’s favorite team could be on the chopping block.  download (2)

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