Tag Archives: Roy Williams

2017 NCAA Tournament Notebook: Final Four Coastal War

Heading into the NCAA Tournament, not many people could’ve predicted the Final Four cast that will be on display this coming Saturday in Glendale, Arizona.  Two schools arrive from the extreme east coast, both from the Carolinas no less.  It had been since UCLA made it to their third straight Final Four in 2008 that the west coast had representation.  This year the college basketball world was graced with two left coast participants.  Each of the teams in the Final Four has at least one distinct attribute which provides an advantage over their semifinal opponent; and perhaps which will carry over into the title game.  It’s going to be a true coastal war on Saturday evening.

Standing Tall

North Carolina crushes opponents on the boards.  The Tar Heels lead the nation in rebounding margin, and that will serve as a major factor against Oregon.  Jordan Bell was a one man wrecking crew against Kansas in the Elite Eight.  How will he be able to handle UNC’s huge front line of 6-10 Kennedy Meeks, 6-9 Isaiah Hicks, and 6-10 Tony Bradley?  The ability to crash the boards, particularly on the offense end allows Justin Jackson to unleash his quick-release jumper freely, and give the Tar Heels multiple possessions.  If the Ducks can’t neutralize this quickly, it will make for a long night.

Oblivious to the Danger

Right now, Oregon is playing with absolutely no fear.  Tyler Dorsey is flat-out killing it.  Jordan Bell single-handedly terrorized Kansas around the rim, and Dillon Brooks is a willing go-to guy who is unconscious about unleashing some offense.  The Ducks have a pretty light rotation, but what they do have are multiple stars that can rise to the occasion, leaving multiple outlets if a big shot is necessary.  Oregon can play with pace to get out in transition; and have the individual offensive skills to find shots when the game bogs down in the half court.  If anyone can run with UNC, it’ll be the Ducks.

Well-balanced Diet

Mark Few’s team is the most balance team remaining.  Gonzaga can put pressure on opponents from the perimeter, slashing to the paint, or attacking the rim with size in the post.  There’s also a nice blend of veterans and young players; and more than any of the other teams remaining, the Bulldogs are likely playing with the biggest chip on their collective shoulders.  Nigel Williams-Goss is still the key cog in the machine, and he has the chops to carry the Zags for the final two games.  Gonzaga’ capacity to be multi-faceted will be crucial against South Carolina.

Up in Your Grill

Much like their coach Frank Martin, the Gamecocks have been right up in their opponent’s kitchen every single game.  South Carolina has proven to be the most physical team remaining in the field, and that will be their ace-in-the-hole.   Gonzaga struggled with West Virginia’s pressure and physicality in the Sweet 16.  While Martin’s team won’t press heavily, the constant harassment and bumping in the half court is more than sufficient to rattle cages.  Although the Gamecocks don’t have a ton of size on the front line, the guards are powerfully built, and that drives their physicality.  If South Carolina is given the freedom to play as physically as they have all tournament, Gonzaga will be battered, bruised, and possibly go bye-bye.

New Blood vs. Blue Blood

Aside from the east coast/west coast rift, the 2017 Final Four also gives us some upstart programs trying to make a name, versus one legendary program, and coach who is trying to cement his legacy.  Although Dana Altman, Mark Few, and Frank Martin have been around for quite some time, this is the breakthrough opportunity each has been waiting for.  Altman did a nice job at Creighton for many years, but never really gets mentioned among the great college basketball coaches.  Martin gave Kansas State some of its best years in the college basketball landscape, but winning a title at a football-crazed school could propel South Carolina to sustained success in hoops.  Mark Few is Gonzaga basketball.  Whether Gonzaga ascends to the upper echelon of college basketball’s elite programs, hinges upon what Few’s team does this coming weekend.

Predictions

In the first semifinal, I see Gonzaga’s depth and versatility being the deciding factor versus South Carolina.  The whistles will probably be a bit tighter especially early-on in the semifinal games, and that won’t make it easy for the Gamecocks to apply the physicality that Frank Martin’s team is accustomed to.  With a bit more free reign, Mark Few’s team will outlast South Carolina to reach Monday’s final.

As much fun as it would be to see an all west coast National Title game, I think the Tar Heels are going to simply be too much on the boards for Oregon’s slim frontline to handle.  It was one thing to punch Kansas in the mouth, as the Jayhawks only real threat in the paint was Landen Lucas.  North Carolina will pound the paint and the glass until the Ducks are beaten into submission.  Normally the pace that Oregon can play at would be a distinguished advantage, but the Tar Heels love to get out in transition, especially after giving up a basket.  North Carolina will meet Gonzaga for the championship.

Despite a topsy-turvy last few weeks, which provided a less than predictable Final Four, we’ll be left with two #1 seeds squaring off for the National Championship trophy.  Roy Williams, an all-time great, with an opportunity to carve his legendary status into stone.  And Mark Few, a great coach who has stayed the course at a school long considered a mid-major.  Winning a national title will validate not only his status as an all-time great coach, but will permanently remove the mid-major label from Gonzaga University.

Prior to the tournament, I didn’t like Gonzaga to advance past the Sweet 16.  However, the Bulldogs have gotten better as the tournament has progressed, and have the versatility and firepower to go toe-to-toe with North Carolina.  Without a doubt, Roy Williams’ team has the experience and the pedigree.  A year ago most of these same players ended the season with heartbreak against Villanova.  This year the Zags rip the Tar Heels hearts out once again.  Gonzaga 86 North Carolina 82.  The Gonzaga Bulldogs will be College Basketball’s 2017 National Champion.

E-mail Damon at  or follow him on Twitter @DamoKnowsSports.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Alabama Football is Too Big To Fail

As the NCAA was peering over the shoulder of Hugh Freeze, the Ole Miss football coach was consistent in his vehement refutation of all of the claims against him and his program. Freeze went as far as to imply that the NCAA’s investigation was based on religious persecution as he compared himself to his Lord and Savior. Motivation aside, the NCAA has accused Freeze of having a lack of institutional control to go along with 15 Level I violations.

Paying recruits is among the specific allegations that comprise Freeze’s alleged transgressions on the recruiting trail. This allegation becomes stickier when one of those recruits in question didn’t make Ole Miss his home. A logical assumption is that if the recruit accepted payment from a program that he turned down that it’s easy to believe that the same recruit accepted money from the program that he ultimately chose to play for. This is what’s been suggested to have occurred with Leo Lewis. Lewis allegedly accepted money from Ole Miss only to turn around and commit to Mississippi State. And it’s at this point that the NCAA finds itself in the same philosophical dilemma that it has placed itself in time and time again.

As a governing body, the NCAA has been anything but fair and balanced. The NCAA has a history of playing favorites and turning a blind eye to justice when the member institution is considered to be a blue-blood program. To say that the NCAA has shown a lack of institutional control when levying justice is an understatement. This certainly doesn’t make the NCAA judiciary arm different from any other governing body but that also doesn’t excuse its practice of selective enforcement.

Alabama has been a recent beneficiary of the NCAA’s protocol of selective enforcement. There was a long paper trail documenting the funneling of benefits between former Crimson Tide player Luther Davis and D.J. Fluker. Davis acted as the go-between for Fluker, NFL agents, and financial advisors.

Yahoo Sports was able to authenticate text message records, Western Union fund transfers, banking statements, flight receipts and other financial material linking both Davis and the five college football players. Yahoo Sports also found that three NFL agents and three financial advisers engaged Davis in transactions totaling $45,550. The three agents were Andy Simms, Peter Schaffer and John Phillips. The financial advisers were Jason Jernigan, Mike Rowan and Hodge Brahmbhatt.

Even with the case that could be made against Alabama and some of the individuals close to the program, the NCAA lacked the time to go after Nick Saban and Alabama. And that poses the million-dollar question; what is the NCAA afraid of? To me, that’s an easy question to answer. The NCAA is afraid of going after one of its blue-bloods because it’s afraid of what that could mean to its overall brand. Alabama is worth too much to bring down what Saban has built in Tuscaloosa.

It is true that the NCAA placed Alabama football on probation once before, but that wasn’t under the shadow of the current economic landscape of college football. Alabama has too much market and intrinsic value in the modern day business model. Simply put, Alabama football is considered too big to fail and, because of that, the Crimson Tide are essentially allowed to make its own rules.

The Fluker accusations were not the only ones surrounding Alabama. There was also the situation that former assistant coach Bo Davis placed Alabama in. And when I say “placed Alabama in,” I really mean the situation that Davis placed himself in. Davis was accused of contacting recruits during the dead period and the NCAA did engage in a small investigation. Based on its lack of action against Alabama, the NCAA considered this a case of no-harm-no-foul once Davis resigned.

Davis submitted his resignation on April 28. He was then paid $316,666.66 on August 19. The reason given for this payment was “to resolve disputed claims related to his separation from the university.” Once that payment of $316,666.66 was factored in, Davis made more than the $475,000 that Alabama had set his 2016 compensation at. That strikes me as a payoff to keep his mouth shut about what he witnessed and took part in while on the Alabama coaching staff. But like I said, Alabama is considered too big to fail.

The NCAA has a rich and storied history when it comes to wielding its selective sword of justice. In addition to what the NCAA has allowed Alabama to get away with, there are numerous examples of the NCAA engaging in questionable enforcement procedures when it comes to its basketball programs.

Going all the way back to when Roy Williams was the basketball coach at the University of Kansas, the NCAA went easy on his Jayhawk program when investigating the ties between Tom Grant, Myron Piggie and JaRon Rush.

Once Williams left the Jayhawks for the North Carolina Tar Heel job, he played dumb as the NCAA questioned how he ran his Kansas program. Again, nothing substantial came out of this NCAA investigation.

How about the FBI investigation that Bill Self’s team found itself attached to? Yes, I said FBI investigation. Did this receive much attention from the NCAA? It did not.

And there was the ticket scandal that occurred at Kansas while Lew Perkins was the athletic director. This included the concealing of income statements that were provided to the NCAA. But, as you probably guessed, nothing came out of this.

The NCAA had an issue with one of its investigators, Abigail Grantstein. Grantstein, who graduated from Kansas, was eventually fired for bungling the investigations into UCLA recruit Shabazz Muhammad and Kansas recruit Josh Selby. Both UCLA and Kansas got off easy.

Perhaps the real cake topper in how the NCAA operates was on display as Miami basketball was being investigated. The NCAA had Nevin Shapiro’s attorney on its payroll as Maria Elena Perez was caught sharing privileged information with the NCAA.

The NCAA claims to stand for integrity and claims to support what is in the best interest of the college athletes. Nothing could be further from the truth. The NCAA cares about itself and what it considers to be in its best interest. And what’s in the best interest of the NCAA is for its blue-bloods to remain successful.

If your school isn’t on par with Alabama football or Kansas basketball, you had better hope that your school doesn’t offer a recruit an impermissible cheeseburger. But if your school is on par with Alabama or Kansas? Let the payments and benefits flow.

This is what will help contain the damage that would have otherwise have been inflicted by an in-depth NCAA investigation into the former Ole Miss football recruits. We should expect the NCAA to go just far enough as to take down Ole Miss, but not far enough to clean the entire situation up. If the NCAA did go all the way with the investigation, a school like Alabama could get caught in the cross hairs. And that’s the last thing the NCAA wants.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Mike Krzyzewski is as Overrated as Roy Williams is Underrated

When the question of the best coach in men’s college basketball gets asked, many immediately respond with Coach Mike Krzyzewski. He has over 1,000 career wins, five NCAA Championships and is currently the man leading USA Men’s Basketball at the Olympics.

His career numbers are impressive — since the 1983-84 season he has only missed one NCAA Tournament. There’s been 12 Final Fours, 12 ACC regular season championships and 13 ACC conference tournament championships.

From the 96-97 to 00-01 seasons Duke won five straight regular season titles. The final three years of that stretch included three straight ACC tournament championships to go with the regular season titles. There were two Final Four’s, with an NCAA Championship in 00-01.

That was easily the most dominant stretch of Coach K’s coaching career.

While Duke won the NCAA Tournament in the 2014-15 season, it’s been six years since they’ve won the ACC regular season, and five since they’ve won the ACC Tournament. That’s a decent drought for a coach considered head and shoulders above his peers.

Back to the question — Who is the best coach in men’s college basketball? How many names were brought up before Roy Williams? I personally don’t put him in my top 5, which is telling since North Carolina is one of three teams I follow closely.

He’s often labeled as a coach who gets by with the talent on his roster, one who lacks the ability to make in-game adjustments. Sometimes it seems as if UNC finishes games with more timeouts than they started with.

Furthermore, there’s criticism that he’s been unable to land top-tier high school prospects in recent years. It’s pretty impressive when you can be accused of relying on your team’s talent, while also being blasted for the lack of it.

Williams has won 16 regular season conference championships, including seven as the head coach of UNC. He has two national championships in eight trips to the Final Four.

Yet, he’s overlooked by the public, underrated amongst his own fan base.

Where Coach K and Duke don’t have an ACC regular season championship in six years, Williams and UNC have three. That’s telling for two elite coaches in the same conference — with a large gap in how they’re perceived by the public.

Coach K very may well be the best coach around, but good ol’ Roy deserves some respect as well.

For what it’s worth, here is my top 5 list of active men’s college basketball coaches:

  1. Rick Pitino (7 Final Fours, 2 National Championships)
  2. Tom Izzo (7 Final Fours, 1 National Championship)
  3. Mike Krzyzewski (12 Final Fours, 5 National Championships)
  4. John Calipari (4 Final Fours, 1 National Championship)
  5. Jim Boeheim (5 Final Fours, 1 National Championship)

Active wins leaders:

  1. Mike Krzyzewski, 1043
  2. Jim Boeheim, 989
  3. Roy Williams, 783 (8 Final Fours, 2 National Championships)
  4. Rick Pitino, 743
  5. Bob Huggins, 719 (2 Final Fours)

While I applaud Krzyzewski for building Duke into the power it is today, I still can’t shake the feeling that too many of his teams in recent memory have underperformed. Top-level talent should produce consistent top-level results — both in the regular season and postseason.

This is why I give Pitino and Izzo the top spots, they’ve done more with less.

Coach K is overrated — somehow the coach who has won more games than anyone, hasn’t won enough. Roy Williams is underrated — viewed as a man just trying not to screw up a program that runs itself.

‘Tis how it goes when you’re the head men at Duke and North Carolina.

E-mail Zak at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @playorbplayd.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Bryan Horowitz

Will Roy Williams Crush Kent Babb Like a Dove?

The University of North Carolina Tar heels (UNC) basketball team and Roy Williams have had a March to remember. They won the ACC and were awarded a coveted 1-seed by the NCAA Tournament committee. UNC has lived up to their seeding as they’ve cruised into the championship game against the Villanova Wildcats. March Madness has been good to the Tar Heels.

With all of the success UNC has had during the 2015-16 season, there is a shadow that looms over them and Roy Williams. The Washington Post’s Kent Babb illuminated the issues surrounding Williams and his UNC program when he published “Scandals and health burden Roy Williams to deliver for the players he loves.”

These allegations of academic fraud are not new revelations for UNC. The NCAA has been investigating the academic climate at UNC and as Sara Ganin and Devon Sayers stated in their CNN article; there were 18 years of academic fraud that had taken place at UNC.

Whether or not Williams approved of Babb’s perspective, the fact remains that there is well established controversy surrounding UNC and Williams. An argument could even be made that UNC should not be participating in the tournament this year. The only reason they are eligible for the tournament is because the NCAA had to place their investigation on hold in light of new findings that UNC self-reported about their women’s basketball team and men’s soccer team. Aaron Beard highlighted these convenient findings in his Associated Press article.

Schools must respond to NOAs within 90 days, which is often when they self-impose penalties. UNC was near its deadline before reporting additional improper assistance from the women’s basketball adviser and possible recruiting violations in men’s soccer.

How convenient for Williams.

Considering that all of this is common knowledge and has been well documented, it was surprising to hear Williams spout his outrage at Babb. Williams didn’t even have to read Babb’s article himself to be outraged. All it took were his friends reading it and reporting back to the coach. Babb’s colleague at The Washington Post, Cindy Boren, offered this follow-up story where Williams’ reaction was documented.

“You know, Dan (Patrick), I’ll try to treat this lightly because I could deal with it much more strongly,” Williams said. “I haven’t read it. Two of my close friends were so mad that if they were to step in front of that guy in the street, it would be a very bad scene because they felt like the guy took — lied. I started to try to say it nicely.

“One of my guys said, ‘I never said anything like that.’ It’s upset all my friends. I haven’t read it, don’t care to read it, never will read it. He’d better step carefully around any of my friends. My high school coach is one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever known in my life and one of my assistants that was with me for 21 years — and they are so mad at that guy.”

The thought of someone like Babb viewing Williams as anything other than the self anointed God he thinks he is offended the coaches’ friends so much that Babb had better hope that the disciples of Williams never cross paths with the writer. And Babb’s blasphemy was so strong that Williams told Babb that he had better step carefully.

You know, if I didn’t know better, i’d swear that this was the Tupac and Biggie feud all over again.

Williams likes to play naive and likes to present himself as a precious snowflake who is as nice as they come. But if you’ve paid attention to Williams over the years, you’d know that he is comfortable using intimidation tactics when he believes he’s been wronged.

Back in 2003, the University of Kansas fired athletic director Al Bohl. Bohl and Williams did not get along and Levi Chronister wrote a story for kusports.com that highlighted the tense relationship between the two men. Bohl believed that Williams was responsible for his firing and that Williams had metaphorically held the athletic director in his hands like a dove and crushed him.

So before Babb writes another article that is critical of Williams, he should ask himself this question: Does he want to be another one of Williams’ doves?

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.

 

*Featured image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

The NCAA Values Integrity – At Least When it Comes to Their March Madness Bracket

As conference championship week finished up, we sat eagerly in front of our television sets as we inched closer to CBS going live with this year’s edition of Selection Sunday. Some felt like winners and some felt like losers. This is the nature of the beast when it comes to this High Holy Day in college basketball.

Frank Haith’s Tulsa team felt like a winner. Haith’s Golden Hurricane went 20-11 in the AAC and was considered a bubble team as they tipped off against Memphis in a quarterfinal game of their conference tournament. After losing 89-67 to Josh Pastner’s Tigers, Tulsa’s bubble appeared to have burst. However, as the brackets were unveiled, the selection committee resuscitated Tulsa’s season and paired them against Michigan in a Wednesday night play-in game. You know what they say: Faith in Haith.

Kentucky, of all teams, felt like a loser. After going 26-8 and finishing tied for the regular season SEC conference crown with Texas A&M, the Wildcats beat the Aggies 82-77 to win the SEC Tournament which evened their head-to-head season record with the Aggies at 1-1. John Calipari felt like a loser on Selection Sunday because Texas A&M was awarded a 3-seed in the South while Kentucky was awarded a 4-seed in the East. Kentucky believed that the starting time of the SEC Championship game placed them at a disadvantage when it came to the committee and seeding. Yes Coach Cal., you were screwed out of your rightful place as a 3-seed. Whatever.

On Selection Sunday, Tulsa was on the highest of highs and Kentucky would have seemed to have been on the lowest of lows, but there was an entity who felt even more slighted than Kentucky and that entity was the NCAA. You see, the NCAA agreed to offer CBS the broadcasting rights to a 2 hour extravaganza that would feature the insight of Charles Barkley, because if there’s one person who is considered a college basketball expert and 21st century technological genius, it’s Barkley. Isn’t it?

The reason that the NCAA felt like the real loser is that someone leaked the committee’s full bracket prior to the CBS broadcast airing in its entirety. Some fans and teams found out about the seeding and regions prior to Charles Barkley being able to finish engraving the results on his stone tablets. This compromised information was seen as a complete lack of integrity and the NCAA vows to find the culprit responsible for this breach of trust.

When it comes to their NCAA tournament brackets, the NCAA is all about integrity, but when it comes to the actual important things, integrity seems to be an after-thought for the NCAA.

Remember when Frank Haith was still at Miami and was involved with Hurricanes booster, Nevin Shapiro? The NCAA embarked on one of their long, drawn out hunts for the truth. As this hunt played out, it became known that the NCAA had Shapiro’s lawyer on their payroll as they paid attorney Mario Elena Perez between $20,000 and $25,000 for information about Shapiro.

The NCAA’s enforcement director, Julie Roe Lach, was accused of paying Perez in order to improperly obtain information about Shapiro. As stated in the ESPN article:

The NCAA, which is conducting an external review of what it called “improper conduct” by its enforcement arm, said Tuesday that it has nothing further to say about the payment.

“Whether or not Julie approved [the action], it will be part of the external review process,” NCAA spokesman Bob Williams told CBSSports.com. “However, the review is solely focused on enforcement.”

The NCAA has said its enforcement staff worked with Shapiro’s defense attorney to obtain information improperly through a bankruptcy proceeding that did not involve its investigation of Miami. The NCAA did not name the attorney, but Perez told the South Florida Sun Sentinel she did not collude with NCAA investigators.

But remember, the NCAA values integrity. At least when it comes to their March Madness brackets.

As anyone who follows college sports knows, the NCAA claims to own the likenesses of all of the collegiate athletes. College athletes are forbidden from making money off of their own likeness, but that doesn’t stop the NCAA from cashing in on its stars.

In August of 2013, Jay Bilas went on one of his anti-NCAA rants. This time it was about the NCAA forbidding the players to benefit from their likenesses while at the same time selling merchandise on the NCAA website that was specifically beging marketed with the likenesses of the players.

But remember, the NCAA values integrity. At least when it comes to their March Madness brackets.

In 2012, the NCAA was investigating UCLA and its recruitment of Shabazz Muhammad. During investigations, the NCAA likes all involved parties to stay tight-lipped. They essentially place a gag order on anyone associated with the investigation, because, you know, integrity. That however did not apply to the NCAA and their assistant director of enforcement, Abigail Grantstein.

Grantstein evidently discussed the case in depth with her boyfriend and that boyfriend spoke about the investigation while on a commercial flight. This essentially tainted the case and Muhammad’s attorney had this to say in the LA Times article:

“This puts a far brighter light on the failings of the NCAA process, and it calls into question the impartiality of the decision,” Orr said. “They have prolonged this investigation, trying extraordinarily hard to find some basis to rule Shabazz ineligible — for whatever reason, and I don’t know what that reason is.”

But remember, the NCAA values integrity. At least when it comes to their March Madness brackets.

No program is truly “clean.” To be a “clean” NCAA program is virtually impossible, but the NCAA seems to enforce their rules subjectively and their hammer of justice is even more subjective than their investigative processes.

If you’re a coach at a blue blood program or are considered a blue blood coach, the NCAA takes what amounts to a hands off approach when it comes to their enforcement procedures. In the linked article, Reid Forgrave offered a now infamous quote from former UNLV coach, Jerry Tarkanian:

“The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky it’s going to give Cleveland State two more years probation.”

While Tarkanian may have been exaggerating a little bit, there is still some truth to his comment. While the NCAA is busy placing their handcuffs on Bruce Pearl, Donny Tyndall and Kim Anderson, others like Rick Pitino and Roy Williams will be allowed to continue doing what they’re doing.

There is something to remember about Kim Anderson’s situation and that is that he was not the coach responsible for any of these transgressions, Frank Haith’s coaching staff was the responsible party and we all know what Haith is doing in March. He’s “going dancing.”

But remember, the NCAA values integrity. At least when it comes to their March Madness brackets.

When all of this is considered, it is difficult to have empathy for the NCAA as they moan about being the victim at the hands of an unnamed entity who did not respect the integrity of an NCAA process.

The NCAA can turn a blind eye to things like hookers and fake classes but they apparently draw the line at deep throating their field of 64.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SMerenbloom.

*Featured image courtesy of en.wikepedia.org

JaRon Rush’s Story Can’t be Told Without Tom Grant and Myron Piggie

The year is 1998 and Pembroke Hill is capping off a run of three consecutive state high school basketball championships which would eventually have to be forfeited due in large part to Tom Grant and Myron Piggie. Pembroke Hill is a small, class 2-A, private school in Kansas City whose championship run was on the collective back of the Rush brothers. Older brother JaRon was the star of the show while younger brother Kareem was waiting his turn to be the premier player at Pembroke Hill.

There wasn’t a college program in America that wasn’t vying for JaRon’s services. JaRon was a three-time State of Missouri player of the year and his accomplishments at Pembroke Hill were noticed by the likes of Kansas, Duke and UCLA. However, the AAU team that Jaron played for, the Children’s Mercy Hospital 76ers, catapulted his reputation to a higher level.

JaRon Rush played on a Tom Grant and Myron Piggie AAU team that also featured his younger brother Kareem, Corey Maggette and Korleone Young. Kareem would eventually play for the University of Missouri, Maggette would play at Duke and Young went straight to the NBA after spending a year at Hargrave Military Acadamy. Most AAU teams are stacked, but this team was a virtual Dream Team on the Kansas City area AAU circuit.

JaRon was considered to be a lock for Roy Williams and the University of Kansas Jayhawks. He was essentially a home town kid whose AAU team was funded by philanthropist and Kansas booster Tom Grant. So how did JaRon end up playing for UCLA and not Kansas?

Fast forward to 2016. JaRon is back in Kansas City where he watches his son, Shea Rush, play for another small, class 3-A, private school, Barstow Academy. Shea isn’t the type of elite level recruit that his father or uncle were, but he led Barstow to the 2015 Missouri state championship and is good enough to play Division-I basketball. He has chosen to be a preferred walk-on for Roy Williams at the University of North Carolina.

Shea’s decision to play for Roy Williams is considered to be retribution of sorts for the proverbial “sins-of-the-father” narrative. The narrative is that Roy Williams stopped recruiting JaRon after JaRon referred to Williams as “Roy” in an interview. This act of perceived disrespect was considered to be large enough for Williams to cut JaRon lose which resulted in JaRon’s commitment to UCLA.

What this story of disrespect leaves out is the relationship between Tom Grant, Myron Piggie, JaRon and Kareem Rush, and the University of Kansas.

Tom Grant was paying JaRon in the form of cash, gifts, a car and Pembroke Hill tuition payments. Grant, being the Kansas City philanthropist that he was, had helped numerous kids over the years, but JaRon was different and the star basketball player’s own mother, Glenda, realized this difference. Glenda believed that Grant’s high-level involvement with her son was in fact an effort to steer JaRon to the booster’s preferred school, the University of Kansas. Glenda was clear about this belief when she was quoted in the previously linked New York Daily News article:

Grant admits he gave JaRon Rush tens of thousands of dollars in cash, gifts, including a Geo Tracker, and tuition to attend a Kansas City prep school. Grant says Rush is just one of many kids he’s helped over the years, but Rush’s mother believes there was another motive: “I assumed it was because he wanted my son to go to Kansas,” Glenda Rush says.

Not only was JaRon on Grant’s payroll, but so was Myron Piggie. Grant paid Piggie an annual salary of $184,000 to coach his AAU team even though Piggie had no prior coaching experience. He did however have a criminal record.

Piggie was now running a high-caliber AAU team that gained national notoriety. This notoriety attracted the attention of Nike executive and former University of Southern California head basketball coach, George Ravelling. Ravelling and Nike signed Piggie to a consulting contract that was worth $425,000. Piggie funneled some of this money to JaRon and other players all while keeping Tom Grant unaware of his deal with Nike. This would prove to be Piggie’s undoing and perhaps the end of any hope Grant had of JaRon playing for Roy Williams and the University of Kansas. A partial list of the gifts Piggie provided to the players was outlined in the New York Daily News.

Piggie didn’t tell Grant about the Nike deal, but he shared his wealth with JaRon Rush and the other players, delivering payments in Nike shoe boxes and coaching them on what to say if they were ever questioned by the NCAA. JaRon Rush received $17,000 to ensure he would compensate Piggie after Rush turned pro, according to the indictment. Young was paid $14,000, including $2,500 after the 76ers defeated New York’s Riverside Hawks in a 1997 Lawrence, Kan., tournament. Maggette received $2,000; Kareem Rush $2,300; and Andre Williams $250. “I didn’t think it was anything different from what Tom Grant was doing,” JaRon Rush says. “They were both trying to help me.

Along with being a philanthropist and Kansas booster, Tom Grant is also a businessman with an infamous reputation within the Kansas City business community. Grant is not a person that you want to upset as he can be ruthless in his revenge tactics. When Piggie cut his secret deal with Nike, he opened himself up to the full wrath of Tom Grant.

Once Grant learned that Piggie was not only being paid by Nike and a Detroit-based agent along with Piggie paying Grant’s AAU players, Grant decided to hire a private investigator to go after Piggie. And when it became apparent that Piggie was shopping JaRon’s services around to the highest potential bidder, Grant turned into an informant and ratted Piggie out to the Kansas City police, the FBI and the State of Kansas government.

Unlike Piggie, Grant never found himself in any real trouble. Piggie denied any wrong doing in part because he considered himself to be a patsy for Grant. Each of the Rush brothers were penalized by the NCAA and all of the schools involved in the recruitment of Grant and Piggie’s AAU players had to pay legal and investigative costs. Piggie defended his actions in this lawsuit by saying that the issue was not his actions, but rather that he was caught.

Piggie contends on appeal that he did not intend any loss to the Universities, because if the scheme had gone as he planned, the payments to the players would never have been discovered and the Universities would have incurred no loss.

When ESPN college basketball writer Andy Katz questioned Piggie regarding his level of responsibility in the payment of the Children’s Mercy Hospital 76ers players, Piggie had this to say:

AAU coaches don’t have money like that,” said Piggie, whose roster also included Orlando Magic first-round pick Corey Maggette and Korleone Young, who was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 1998 NBA draft. “I had an open checkbook to recruit these guys. I was in Kansas City and our sponsor Tom Grant wanted to win. I worked for the man for three-and-a-half years and when the boss asks you to do something, you do it. My job was to make sure JaRon stayed out of trouble. That was my job until JaRon became a senior.”

JaRon’s mother never trusted Grant and Piggie, and now it was time for JaRon to make his college choice. JaRon verbally committed to Kansas, but his mother blocked the commitment as Michael O’Keefe described:

JaRon Rush verbally committed to the Jayhawks in November 1997, but because he was just 17, his mother was required to sign the national letter of intent that would bind him to Grant’s alma mater. Glenda Rush refused, shocking KU coach Roy Williams and Jayhawks fans. She says she feared her son was being pressured to make a quick decision, but according to the indictment, there was another reason why Rush ultimately chose UCLA – Piggie paid him $5,000 for the lease of a new vehicle, on the condition that he not attend KU.

So why did JaRon Rush ultimately choose UCLA over Kansas? Was it because Roy Williams rescinded Rush’s scholarship offer after “a wave of drama,” as Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star newspaper stated? Was it because Jaron called Roy Williams, “Roy,” as recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons had stated in the Lawrence Journal World? Or was it because Tom Grant, who was one Williams’ biggest boosters, was funneling cash and gifts to JaRon along with the payments that Piggie was making to Jaron?

My bet is that Williams cut ties with JaRon because of Tom Grant’s involvement in his recruitment becoming public knowledge. A college coach doesn’t cut ties with a recruit of JaRon’s caliber because the recruit refers to the coach by his first name, but when the FBI starts asking questions related to the primary handlers of that recruit, well, that’s a different story. Grant had no problem being an informant against the coach of his own AAU team, so if Kansas was involved in any wrong doing in JaRon’s recruitment, it is safe to assume that Grant would also be an informant against Williams if it meant saving himself.

Shea Rush is not his father and should not be lumped in with JaRon and his infamous recruitment. JaRon was one of the best high school basketball players to ever play in Kansas City, and had his pick of colleges to choose from, while Shea is a walk-on.

There is no doubt that Roy Williams regrets not having JaRon in a Kansas uniform and having Shea at North Carolina does nothing to change that. Williams should consider himself lucky that he and Kansas were not taken down alongside Grant and Piggie.

And if Grant and Piggie had not been involved in JaRon’s recruitment, perhaps JaRon would have played for Roy Williams and the Jayhawks.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SMerenbloom.

*Featured image courtesy of 401(K)2012/Flickr

Top-10 List of Things That Will Happen Before Lane Kiffin Leaves Alabama for UCLA

Do you know who has it easy right now? Lane Kiffin, that’s who. As Alabama’s offensive coordinator Kiffin has coached in two national championship games and won one of them. Not bad for a coach who has the reputation of “falling up.”

Kiffin arguably has the best job in the history of sports. As Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator Kiffin has to orchestrate just enough points to win games and, with the Alabama defense, not many points are needed. He has also had the luxury of coaching Derrick Henry, Amari Cooper and a laundry list of other high caliber offensive weapons. Talent like this is not going to dry up any time soon at Alabama.

So here’s the question: Why would he even think about leaving Tuscaloosa?

That is the question that UCLA should have asked themselves prior to making their offer to Kiffin. UCLA really thought that Kiffin would leave Alabama to be the offensive coordinator for UCLA?

Again, Kiffin has the easiest job in sports right now.

I guess UCLA thought that Kiffin couldn’t say “yes” unless he was at least offered the job. This was a completely far fetched idea on the part of UCLA.

Here’s my Top-10 list of far fetched things that could have happened before Lane Kiffin left Alabama for UCLA.

  1. Clay Travis leaves Fox Sports after accepting an offer from Campus Pressbox. Our benefit package isn’t much, but we make up for it with a kick-ass slack.com app.
  2. I, Seth Merenbloom, will grow a full, luxurious head of hair so I am no longer Campus Pressbox’s “Bald Headed Bastard.”
  3. Donald Trump gets elected President. He names only his kids as cabinet members.
  4. Stan Kroenke updates his last will and testament and leaves his toupe to the city of St. Louis.
  5. Mike Wilson, Campus Pressbox Sr. Pac-12 Writer, starts drinking his scotch the right way. Neat.
  6. Oklahoma leaves the Big 12 and becomes a member of the SEC. Bob Stoops publicly admits that the SEC is the best conference in college football.
  7. Rick Pitino holds a press conference from the bathroom of a Louisville restaurant where he admits to running The Best Little Whore House In Louisville.
  8. Roy Williams’ entire North Carolina basketball team not only makes the Dean’s List, but are in a 16 student tie for Valedictorian.
  9. Jameis Winston retires from the NFL to pursue his true passion which is being an Alaskan king crab fisherman.
  10. Urban Meyer is found to be in perfect health and remains at Ohio State for the remainder of his coaching career.
E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SMerenbloom.

Feature image courtesy of pixabay.com

Tar Heels have the look of a Title Contender

Having played over half their regular season schedule, this year’s North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team looks to have the makings of a team who can win it all come March.

Through 17 games, the Tar Heels sit at a very respectable 15-2. The Heels improved to 4-0 in the ACC, which is the first time in Roy Williams 13 years as head coach at UNC that his team has reached that mark.

This is a pretty crazy stat seeing as how Williams’ 2005 and 2009 national championship teams lost just four games a piece in those respective seasons.

UNC improved to 15-2 on Saturday night after a victory at Syracuse in Jim Boeheim’s first game back on the sideline for the Orange after serving his nine-game suspension.

Although the team has been plagued by injuries to a couple key starters for multiple game stints, the Tar Heels have managed to persevere and become a better team because of it.

Starting guard Marcus Paige missed the first six games of the season due to a broken non-shooting hand. Starting center Kennedy Meeks missed the seven games prior to the game against Syracuse with a bone bruise in his left knee.

All in all, the starting lineup Roy Williams expected to have at the start of the season have started just two games together so far this season.

With Meeks finally working back from injury playing limited minutes against Syracuse but not starting, the Tar Heels are finally looking to gel with all of their players out on the court.

UNC ended the week number six in the AP top-25. But with loses by Oklahoma and Virginia ahead of them, they Tar Heels look to enter this week ranked in the top five.

How have the Tar Heels done so well this season despite not being completely healthy?

UNC is a very balanced team on offense, and as usual boast one of the best offences in the country. On the season, Carolina has six different players that average double digits in scoring.

The entire  Carolina starting five is averaging at least 10 PPG. But a big help this season has been junior forward Isaiah Hicks off the bench.

Although he hasn’t started a game all season, Hicks is the sixth Tar Heel averaging double figures and has scored at least 10 off of the bench in eight of the last nine games.

In his most recent game against Syracuse, Hicks had his best game as a Tar Heel scoring 21 points to go along with eight rebounds off the bench.

Hicks is a 6’9”, 235 pound former McDonald’s All-American and North Carolina high school player of the year, and has all the ability to be a superstar. With the injury to Kennedy Meeks, Hicks has taken full advantage of more playing time and his improvement has help take his team to another level.

Not many teams possess this many players who can put the ball in the basket, this gives Roy Williams a number of options when drawing up plays this season.

Having this number of options has allowed for Carolina to shoot a very good percentage as a team on the season averaging .50% shooting on the season.

The past two seasons, senior Marcus Paige has led the Tar Heels in scoring. He has been relied on heavily the past two seasons to score the ball. The past two years, if Paige had a bad game, UNC didn’t have a very good chance of wining.

This season things have been much different as Paige is the second leading scorer for Carolina to this point in the season averaging 15.1 PPG.

The leading scorer so far this season is none other than Senior forward Brice Johnson, who is finally playing up to the level people thought he could last season. In 17 games this season, Johnson is averaging a staggering 16.7 PPG to go along with 10.2 rebounds.

Johnson is making the most of the attempts he gets to score the ball, shooting an outstanding .64.4% from the field.

With three games with at least 25 points this season, Johnson’s work down low for UNC this season has been exactly what the doctor ordered. With his front court mate Kennedy Meeks missing time due to injury his play has been that much more important.

In a game on Jan. 4 at Florida St., Johnson put forth a performance for the ages. Scoring a career high 39 points and another career high 23 rebounds on 14-16 shooting, the 6’9” senior led the Tar Heels to victory with one of the most dominant performances college basketball has ever seen.

The crazy part of that monster performance from Johnson in UNC’s 106-90 win over FSU, Marcus Paige had a stat line consisting of 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in the quietest 30-point performance you’ll ever see.

The play of these two experienced seniors gives Carolina a huge advantage come tourney time. They have done just about everything in their time at UNC except make a deep tourney run, but expect that to change this season as the Tar Heels have the talent and experience to win a national title.

Photo: Gregor Smith/Flickr

North Carolina Tar Heels: 2015-16 Season Preview

Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels had another disappointing end to their season a year ago losing in the Sweet 16 to Wisconsin.

After beating Harvard and a very respectable Arkansas team to reach he Sweet 16, the Tar Heels had to get through Frank Kaminsky and the #1 seeded Wisconsin Badgers to reach the Elite 8. For North Carolina, a win would have sent them to their sixth regional final since 2007.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 26 Div I Men's Championship - Sweet Sixteen - North Carolina v Wisconsin
J.P. Tokoto, (13) is the only Tar Heel starter not returning this season after deciding to leave early for the NBA draft.

The #4 seed Tar Heels couldn’t have asked for anything more in the first half of play. Both teams struggled on offense and the game remained close (33-31 at the half) with National Player of Year Frank Kaminsky struggling to get going.

The second half was a different ball game. The play picked up on the offense end, as both teams were more efficient scoring the ball. The Tar Heels had a lead early in the second half, but the Badgers turned it on and took control of the game for much of the second half.

Junior guard Marcus Paige got scorching hot from three-point range late to cut the Badger lead to one with 54 seconds to play. However UNC couldn’t get the stop it needed at the end and Wisconsin sealed the game at the free throw line. It was a 79-72 defeat for UNC in a game they feel they could have easily came away victorious.

This season, the Tar Heels return nine of their top ten scorers’ from that Sweet 16 squad. They are tied atop the preseason USA Today Coaches poll with Kentucky as the #1 team in the country.

With so much experience returning from last year’s team, there are very high expectations for a team that is used to having them. Sanctions cloud over the program from a pending investigation of an academic scandal, so this could be the last chance for this group of players to win a national championship after never advancing past the Sweet 16.

marcuspaige-duke
UNC guard Marcus Paige, (5) is one of the top returning players in college basketball. 

For Roy Williams’, this is his most talented Tar Heel squad since the 2011-12 team led by first round picks, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, John Henson, and Tyler Zeller. Williams has two national championships as the head coach at North Carolina, but none since the 2009 season. There is pressure on Roy this year to at least get his team to a final four.

North Carolina is led by senior combo guard Marcus Paige, and as he goes so will the Tar Heels. Paige is coming off of a season when he was plagued by injuries almost the entire season. After averaging 17.5 points on 44% shooting in his sophomore season, plantar fasciitis, as well as an ankle injury slowed him in his junior campaign to the tune of just 14.1 points on 41% shooting.

Paige has the ability to create for himself as well as others, also leading the Tar Heels in assist with 4.5 assists per game last season. He can score off the dribble, as well as make it rain from long range. If Paige can stay healthy, he has ACC, and even national player of the year capability.

However, bad news has recently come to light regarding Paige and the Tar Heels. Paige, (who was selected as Co-Preseason Player of the year in the ACC by the Sports Media Association) broke a bone in his non-shooting hand at practice on Tues., Nov. 3rd. Paige will be out for three-to-four weeks as he recovers from the injury. This is a huge blow for the Tar Heels as Paige is the most experienced playmaker, as well as best shooter on the UNC roster.

With Paige out, UNC will look more to Brice Johnson, a 6’9 senior is also a very good player for the Tar Heels. Manning the power forward spot, Johnson averaged 12.9 points and 7.8 rebounds a season ago. Expect both those numbers to rise this season with another full season of experience under his belt. Johnson and Paige are the engines that make the Tar Heel’s go, and Johnson will be looked at to do even more with Paige on the shelf to start the season.

Johnson has a good post up game with a fade-away jumper and jump hook. He uses both of these shots to perfection when Carolina needs a score down low. The combination of Johnson and Meeks down low makes for one of the most formidable duos in the country.

justinjackson-unc
North Carolina’s Justin Jackson, (44) is a candidate for a breakout season as a sophomore. 

The Tar Heels return four starters in Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, Justin Jackson, and Kennedy Meeks. All four players return averaging at least double digits in scoring. With the versatile J.P. Tokoto unexpectedly bolting for the NBA draft, Carolina will have a couple options as to how to replace him.

Former McDonald’s All-American Justin Jackson emerged as a potential star towards the end of last season as a true freshman. At 6’8, Jackson has range from the three-point line, and also a silky smooth floater. Jackson will be one of the most important players for Carolina this season.

Another former high school All-American, Joel Berry possesses all the skills of a traditional Roy Williams point guard. He is very poise running the show, can pass the ball, as well as shoot from the outside. A starting line-up consisting of Berry, Paige, Jackson, Johnson, and Meeks would be one of the best five in the country. We’ll have to wait to see this potential line-up as Paige is out for the first couple weeks.

With Paige out, UNC will almost surely start Berry at point guard. Doing this would mean keeping Justin Jackson at the shooting guard, and inserting another former McDonald’s All-American in sophomore forward Theo Pinson into a starting role. After being injured for much of last season, Pinson has a lot to prove as far as what he can bring to this Tar Heels team this season.

Juniors Nate Britt, (who is another option to start at point guard with Paige out) and Isaiah Hicks will be huge contributors off the bench. Hicks is a player that could make a huge leap this season, and there are rumbling he could even crack the starting five. As a former top recruit nationally, Hicks is a traditional Roy Williams type big man. Running the floor, crashing the offensive glass, and playing rock solid defense are all qualities Hicks possesses. Look for those qualities to earn him a bigger role this season.

Regardless of who’s in the starting line-up, this season’s North Carolina Tar Heels will have the ability to play in waves. With up to five or six solid contributors off of the bench, Williams will have the opportunity to bring five in and five out at a time. This is something that he is known for doing, but not having as much quality depth the past couple seasons has kept him from using this strategy.

North Carolina opens their season in Annapolis, MD., at the Veterans Day Classic on Nov. 13 against Temple. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

The Paige injury isn’t a good start to the season for the Tar Heels. But once healthy, look for this veteran North Carolina team to be in the thick of things come March.

Commentary: Rashad McCants

2004 NCAA 2st Round: Texas v North Carolina

Today ESPN brought Rashad McCants’ story of University of North Carolina’s academic fraud to the forefront of the media. In case you haven’t heard, this morning McCants blew the whistle on UNC’s basketball program, saying that tutors wrote papers for him, and that he only needed to turn in one class to produce a passing grade — classes that were aptly named, “paper classes.”

Obviously the news caused a lot of backlash on both sides. I’ve read comments ranging from the 6th grade responses of, “Why would you tell on us?” to the prototypical, “It happens everywhere,” and also the Blue Devil troll saying “Go Duke!” If what McCants is saying rings true, it could easily mean another NCAA investigation of a school that hasn’t exactly held the highest standard of rule-following the past few years. A bigger issue is if the precedent was set by Butch Davis losing his job over similar circumstances, than Roy Williams might be facing a circumstance akin to Ned Stark: The hero everyone thought was off limits until George RR Martin flipped the proverbial bird, and put his head on the chopping block.

The issue I have is how in the world people are so daft as to think this doesn’t happen on gigantic platform across all of major division I sports. Before I get into the real meat and potatoes of this whole story, I’d like to give a brief description of my pre-college and collegiate life: Before I went to college I graduated from a prestigious private school, in an affluent neighborhood in the Midwest. I then went on to attend Miami University where I graduated with barely above a 3.0, getting at least two C’s on my way to a fifth year. And I did this all without playing a collegiate sport. Pretty impressive resume? I didn’t think so.

I often spent nights rigorously studying only to get a C on an exam. I would spend two weeks writing 60 pages of well-researched, anthropology papers, only to receive a B on half of them. I’m talking late nights, early mornings, and little-to-no sunlight. Again, I did this all while not playing a sport.

I saw friends in college stay in their rooms for days, studying for econ and accounting exams. Teachers waking up at 4 am to get to their student-teaching locations by 7. Again, this was all done without playing a sport.

I don’t consider myself a slouch by any means, and I also don’t think I was academically gifted. I probably worked about as hard as the average  student, and I was supposedly made for college (26 on my ACT and a 3.5 high school GPA) So how is it that people are expecting student-athletes — some of whom have 2.0 GPA’s and scoring 18’s on their ACT — to excel in college? I know if I got those scores and got into any college it would be no less than a miracle.

Almost every season there’s a story about a kid not able to attend a school because they’re “waiting on him to retake his ACT,” because he got a 14 his first go round and has to get past the prerequisite, “18” to be eligible to play (it might even be 16 for some schools). Can you imagine being told that you only needed to get an 18 on your ACT to attend a reputable collegiate institution? I’ll tell you one thing, I would not have tried so hard in my high school Latin courses. An 18 should never be a prerequisite for anything related to college. An 18 should be the prereq for you to be allowed to live by yourself, as you’ve just showcased you can write your name, DOB, and demonstrated a little competency in the English language.

Then there are the people who argue that by giving scholarships to athletes — who are often underprivileged —  colleges are giving them the tools to succeed. The reality is that colleges are putting student-athletes on the highest platform to fail. Imagine getting a D in a class and not only having to tell your parents, but then being constantly bombarded by reporters and coaches about why you can’t play football/basketball. Instead of replying and saying, “Oh I’m sorry have you taken immunology? Cause that course is like learning how to play a flute with your toes.” they have to bare the full weight of disappointment from parents, coaches, and the community at large, not to mention seething reporters who are trying to break a story at their expense. These are kids anywhere from 19-23 years old (sometimes 27 — I’m looking at you Brandon Weeden) and theyhave the accountability of a corporate CEO, as if it’s somehow remarkable that they screwed up in college, a place where, according to some, you’re supposed to screw up.

The system though, is irrevocably broken. How can kids coming from underprivileged backgrounds, who are essentially working full-time jobs in college, be expected to work as hard as someone who’s only job is to study? The argument has been revisited so many times that it’s become stale. Most regular college students go to middle school to prep for high school, they attempt to get good grades and test scores in high school to be eligible for college. “Student-athletes” perform in their given sport as it’s their ticket in, they need not worry about GPA’s or test scores because, inevitably, they will be taken care of. Then as a society we act shocked when they can’t perform academically at a university. I know I’m not the only person who saw this Chris Johnson interview and thought that the guy might have trouble reading, or listened to Jamarcus Russel and thought that there’s no way that guy ever wrote a paper above a 5th grade level. They were recruited to play sports, not to write papers.

Put it this way: if I’m applying for a job and I have horrible credentials, but I tell them I also happened to be the MVP of my high school football team, I would get laughed at and shown the door. Similarly, if I was auditioning to be an actor in a movie and I could act about as well as Bill Belichik, but I told them I was a 4.0 student, I would similarly be told to stop wasting their time. So why, oh why, do we allow academically underachieving individuals into academic centers based on athletic merit? The answer is as simple as we love our sports. So instead of throwing these kids into indentured servitude, let’s hide behind scholarships. That way we can say they get a free education, but instead of teaching them how to be responsible, and contributing members of society, we show them exactly how to backdoor everything, and show them that they’re above the law. One only needs to look at the long list of felonious and bankrupt athletes in the NFL to realize that education has failed.

Rashad’s not the first, and he’s certainly not the last to whistle blow on a major university. And while some universities are doing the right way, the system is still broken, but we get our games and, and student’s can still hyphen an “athlete” to their name and we can keep kidding ourselves that the whole thing is a win-win.