College Basketball At its Lowest: the NCAA Scandal

Gigi Duncan '20

Cheat: to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or an examination. Cheating, whether it be in the smallest form of copying test answers to the biggest with a sports game, should not be permitted in any condition. On February 23, a Yahoo! Sports report came out detailing the FBI’s probe into a suspected college basketball scandal. Some of the most prominent basketball athletes, coaches, and programs are involved, including small forward Miles Bridges from Michigan State, forward Wendell Carter from Duke, former Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead, and Arizona coach Sean Miller. Former NBA agent Andy Miller and his business associate, Christian Dawkins, are involved with most of the scandals through their agency of ASM Sports. Only a few of the schools involved in the scandal have punished their players and/or coaches, which leaves the question: should the remaining players be paid by the agency?

The NCAA strictly states that players cannot take money from any agency. There are current and former players in trouble for allegedly meeting with representatives over food, taking thousands of dollars in loans, and meeting with Dawkins himself. One of the worst cases to come out of the whole scandal was that of Arizona head coach Sean Miller, who, over an ESPN report, was revealed to be “recorded talking with a runner for a sports agent about making a payment of $100,000 for Deandre Ayton to play for the Wildcats”. Following the report, ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas stated that his actions are “career-ending”, and that he would never coach a game at Arizona again.

Bobby Laurino ’20 asserted that “when top prospects go to bad programs unexpectedly, it causes suspicion.” A perfect example is the recruitment of Isaiah Whitehead by Seton Hall in 2014, who helped the Pirates win a Big East championship in 2016 against Villanova. Seton Hall has had great success with its seasons in the past few years; however, Seton Hall has never won an NCAA basketball championship game. So It is awfully suspicious that Whitehead, who was named as the 14th recruit in the nation by ESPN in 2014, would sign with Seton Hall, over a much stronger, dominant team such as Villanova or UNC. The report, released by Yahoo, alleges that Whitehead received “$26,136 during his freshman year at Seton Hall… as part of the ASM balance sheet titles ‘Loan to Players.’ Another document listed Whitehead receiving $37,657 and stated he was ‘setting up a payment plan’”.

The players involved with the FBI college basketball probe scandal should not be paid the loans they were promised by Miller’s ASM sports agency and Christian Dawkins. This kind of behavior should not be tolerated under any circumstance, and not enough players or coaches have faced appropriate consequences yet. Michigan State has investigated Miles Bridges’ involvement with the scandal and has cleared him to play going forward after submitting its findings to the NCAA. Duke released a statement following the Yahoo! Sports report stating that they looked into the matter and did not believe Carter’s eligibility to be affected. Alabama’s guard Collin Sexton will continue playing as the team’s leading scorer after his family members allegedly shared a meal with Dawkins. Small forward Kevin Knox’s playing time at Kentucky has yet to be affected by the report.

Katie Kisker ’19 believes that “it’s [sports agencies paying college basketball players] been a problem for a long time. It was only a matter of time before somebody did something about it.” This kind of situation was expected, but many did not think it would be exposed on the large scale that it was. These players should not be paid loans by sports agencies. Whether they take the next big step into the pros or not is their decisions to make, but they should focus on their current careers as they are only college athletes. After all, they’re called student-athletes; not athlete-students.