For a minuscule number of college athletes, who are public figures even before they arrive in a grandeur celebration of high anticipation and impossible expectations at a major university campus, the term “student athlete” is not applicable. The formula has been simple and brutal, decades before the onset of computer statistical methods and metrics in evaluating the raw potential of a future star.
Imagine a twelve-year-old giant among kids, gallantly and effortlessly dunking a basketball on the school playground on a sunny day after the Spring thaw. First the classmates rant and rave about a kid mentioned in the same breath as Lebron in creating a future legend, and then word gets the old fashioned way to neighborhood recruiters about this 6’5 beanpole of round ball mastery and the possibility of massive profits. Thus, begins an ugly and very brutal game of tug-of-war as to the future of the pre-teen, as the broken system, combined with the socioeconomics, join forces in grooming another dreamer along with a family into the crowded heights of boom or bust gold rush of astronomical odds and almost a complete detachment with humanity. Where does the blame lay? Is it an Atlas style burden shackled heavily on the shoulders of society, or can the accountability be compartmentalized and allocated towards the current flaws of the education system, the insatiable nature of professional sports fans fueling a multi-billion dollar industry, or the incessant greed of the owners and sponsors, elevating the individual marketing brand mechanisms to a cult-like status?
In a testament to the ugliness and cutthroat nature of the current professional sports hierarchy, a handful of support players were recently made examples of during a federal investigation, as certain instinctive corrective measures happened to occur in the natural order of things. Fox News reports that four current NCAA assistant basketball coaches and six other individuals were charged in Federal Court Tuesday, for their involvement in a full blown scandal which included accepting bribes to influence athletes in securing the services of specific agents and financial advisers. While this culmination of federal investigation is simply the tip of the proverbial iceberg as to the depths and widespread pandemic of corruption that is currently ingrained within the system of athletics stretching from youth leagues and all the way to the heights of the professional ranks, the minor example of the ten individuals is simple window dressing in masking the issue of a serious problem in society. Included in the series of arrests were former NBA veteran Chuck Person and University of Arizona recruiting ace Emanuel Richardson (Did you U of A coach Sean Miller simply get lucky in the recent hire of former University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar as a recruiting authority?). While it is convenient that the athletic directors and coaches at each institution are sure to use ignorance and surprise as excuses in deflecting accountability, there has been no word yet as to possible NCAA sanctions, including postseason bans and scholarship restrictions as a result.
With the majority of professional sports fans threatening a temporary boycott of the National Football League or worse in the aftermath of the National Anthem controversy, the latest findings from the two year Federal Investigation threaten to further the irrefutable damage inflicted on the public’s trust of the sporting industry.
Read the Fox News article here.