Rick Telander, arriving late to the party, decided to write up a piece on Derrick Rose's Memphis scandal.
Some people say Rose might not have known about all the shenanigans
done on his behalf. If true, that is sadder than knowing. Actually,
Sometimes this guy seems like a Stepford Son, like a robot
mind-controlled by his mercenary brothers and handlers, with nary a
real or unrepressed thought in his head.
This all occurs at a time when we have found that half-witted but
clout-laden applicants can get into the University of Illinois law
school ahead of deserving students, at a time when Joyce Kenner, the
principal of wildly selective and prestigious Whitney Young Magnet
School, has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating
admissions at Chicago's elite college-prep high schools.
We have seen how greed and cheating can bring down our economic structure. Can it bring down our educational system, too?
I see where Telander is coming from, but his scope is too narrow. He's focusing in on Calipari and Rose. The problem stems from NCAA basketball being big business that doesn't pay it's employees.
Let me break it down for you:
You are part of the multi-billion dollar industry that is college basketball. You can't legally pay your recruits. Winning titles will make your school millions of dollars. Do you:
A) Play fairly.
B) Offer illegal benefits to kids to come to your school and make millions of dollars.
Most schools probably choose A. However, with millions on the line, there will always be some people who will choose B, and there's rarely any direct accountability for anyone involved even though they all know it's going on.
The problem, and Telander fails to address it, is that we're still trying to play this smoke and mirrors game to say that college basketball isn't big business, but is still about amateur athletics and competition. Maybe it should be, but it isn't. Colleges raking in billions prevent that from ever happening again.
The NCAA also seems awfully selective about which athletes it pursues and tries to find guilty when there is likely an absurd percentage of top prospects on the take from these schools. None of this excuses Rose, but it's part of the culture created by the NCAA which just passes on the blame to the students and schools.
Until the NCAA creates an environment which doesn't drastically benefit those willing to cheat, there will always be cheaters.