Moral of the FBI Probe: It’s Time to Pay the Players

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For those of you who are a longtime followers of this blog (thank you, by the way), y’all would know that I have LONG been an opponent for student-athletes getting paid. In fact, I’ve argued against that idea for a long time, on blog posts and during an appearance on HuffPost Live with Eric Lamont Hill about five years ago.

However, recent turn of events have changed my mind over time, including this FBI investigation that involves bribes from shoe companies and various forms of corruption. There is plenty of documentation out there for your Googling pleasure. Know this: folks in collegiate sports have been tripping because they know how much his investigation has shaken college basketball to its core.

After Yahoo! Sports broke the news that players from more than 20 Division I men’s basketball programs have been identified as possibly breaking NCAA rules through violations that were uncovered by the FBI’s investigation into corruption in the sport, you better believe the movers and shakers at the schools named are quaking in their boots.

And it’s not like these schools were the “sisters of the poor” who would be easy for the NCAA to levy insane punishments from its high horse.  Most are the legit blue bloods of the sport.  I mean, take a look at the schools involved and tell me that you could imagine an NCAA tournament without them:

Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, Xavier and Wichita State.

Those schools either fall under the category of having potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families, being named in former ASM Sports employee Christian Dawkins’ expense reports (by way of seeking reimbursement for thousands of dollars he paid to college and high school players and their families), those who had families that met with Dawkins, or those having/had active/former players implicated.

Oh, for those who do not know, Dawkins worked for former NBA agent Andy Miller whose company ASM is at the center of this FBI corruption probe.  He was also a runner who was indicted by the FBI, along with Adidas executives.

College basketball has a big, BIG problem.  I honestly don’t know how (and if) those blue bloods are going to find their way out of this.  This will potentially change college basketball — and perhaps college sports — as we know it.  If the FBI has its way, it would surely be the bracket buster we’d ever seen (ok, sorry for the lousy pun).

And as usual, NCAA president Mark Emmert was late to the party and piggy-backed off the FBI’s investigation with this sanctimonious and ridiculous quote.

“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.”

To Mr. Emmert, I respectfully say the following: shut the hell up and sit your ass down.  If he had it his way, this “systematic failures” would still go on because he would refuse to do the one thing that would go a long way in fixing those aforementioned “failures”.

Pay the players.  NOW.

Before I go on, let me be the first to acknowledge that these players get something in return that folks say money cannot buy.

A scholarship to attend some of the most prestigious schools in the country.  Exposure to the sports world for those talented enough for the professional leagues.  Access to the best nutritionists, fitness facilities, tutors (and coeds).

But as soon as these same schools started profiting handsomely off of these kids, it has changed the game immensely.

Players have started realizing their worth.  They know that if it weren’t for them, universities would not be able to have the money to upgrade stuff from sports facilities all the way to libraries and classroom buildings.

They also know they have created a HUGE exposure for their universities.  That exposure has led to television contracts from the likes of ESPN, Fox, NBC and CBS, which in turn led to “Power Five” conferences.  Hell, you’ve got the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference raking in $40 to $50 million dollars per school — and that’s off of their conference networks alone!

One more thing the players helped bring to the NCAA: an eight-year, $8.8 billion extension for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament to remain on CBS and Turner through 2032.  That is “billion” with a “B”, folks — on college basketball ALONE.

That’s why I think it’s stupid for Emmert and his college president homies to cry foul and say paying players would undermine the spirit of amateurism.  Amateurism has long been undermined when the NCAA got in bed with the television executives.

It has led to college coaches being paid millions of dollars, and in some cases the highest paid state employees in their respective states.  It has led to schools building athletic facilities that are out of this world.

What other entity could get away with making billions of dollars off the work of uncompensated college kids?  That is why these players need to be paid.

There are some who think that colleges cannot afford to pay players, thinking it would bankrupt several universities across the country.

I want y’all to look at the following videos of the facilities colleges have built.  And while the money used came from big money boosters, those same boosters wouldn’t be shelling millions of dollars if their schools didn’t have the exposure the college kids bring.

Peep Clemson’s awesome football facility:

And Texas’:

And Oregon’s:

And Baylor’s:

And even TCU’s:

And to those who are crowing “hey I thought this was a college basketball rant, Klownboy”, well here ya go.

Duke’s facilities:

Villanova’s AMAZING facilities:

UNC’s facilities (and yes, Sean May is fat as hell):

Kansas’:

And Texas’ BASKETBALL facilities:

Yeah, I don’t think these and other schools would be breaking the bank if college players were rightly compensated.  So the next time you hear someone say, “college players shouldn’t be paid because those schools could not afford to do so”, take a long look at them and drop them this classic quote from Chad Ochocinco.

“Child, please!”

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