NCAA Scandal

Ethan Baer, Sports Writer

The US Department of Justice has recently announced that college basketball coaches from certain universities throughout the country have been arrested amidst a shocking scandal that has exposed the NCAA and multiple shoe brands such as Nike and Adidas. The universities currently involved are University of Southern California, University of Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and the University of Louisville. Ten people have been arrested in total which also included agents, managers, and a brand representative for Adidas.

The FBI has stated that coaches at some of the nation’s top college basketball programs sponsored by Adidas have been taking cash bribes to pay high school prospects to go to Adidas-sponsored events. Also, the high school players have been pressured by these corrupt college coaches to attend their university.

The scandal is essentially a cycle that involves sportswear company affiliates, managers, advisors, high school players, and the NCAA. First, the sportswear brands such as Adidas give absurd amounts of money to college coaches. For example, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has received over $2 million dollars a year from Adidas to pay and coach his players. Once the high school players receive the money, they commit to NCAA Division 1 universities, sponsored by these sportswear brands. As a result, the universities give athletic scholarships to these players, who ultimately commit to corrupt managers and advisors, and use them as agents to prepare for the NBA if the player chooses.

The cause of this scandal is simple. The NCAA doesn’t let its athletes be paid. All NCAA athletes in all sports are not allowed to get a job, sign sponsorship deals, or profit from autographs and merchandise. For example, in 2014, The University of Connecticut’s star point guard, Shabazz Muhammad told the media that on some nights he “goes to bed starving, because we don’t have enough money to get food”. Muhammad said this ahead of college basketball’s biggest stage, the Final Four. This has been argued for many years now, but the NCAA hasn’t budged. The NCAA has shot themselves in the foot and are now being crucified by the media.

It is now apparent that the NCAA doesn’t run college basketball. Shoe companies do. The NCAA and university presidents let this happen, and they are to blame for this major scandal. The NCAA had the power to completely stop and prevent the sportswear companies, or at least derail their influence before it was too late. Many major universities in the NCAA have lucrative apparel contracts with brands such as Nike and Adidas. IU has a contract deal with Adidas worth $56.3 million over the next eight years. The NCAA had a chance to prevent all of this from happening in 1992 before Adidas and Nike had a choke hold on the sporting world. Coaches and schools became suspicious of recruiting camps sponsored by Nike and Adidas. Shortly after, the National Association of Basketball Coaches proposed that the NCAA should be in charge of these exposure camps, effectively putting Nike out of business. However, the NCAA decided that it would ultimately be cheaper to let Nike run their own camps, if the companies met certain NCAA set standards and regulations. The companies ultimately met these requirements, and the money started flowing.

This scandal isn’t just about basketball. This could ultimately drag down and expose college football even worse. As an example, Nike pays Alabama football coach Nick Saban more money to coach his team, than the university does. South’s Philip Kluesner said that he thinks that college football is also “going to be affected and teams like Oregon are going to be in huge trouble because how did they get so good in so little years?” In addition, an ESPN report suggested that the Ohio State football program as a whole is worth more than $1.5 Billion dollars. The amazing athletes that ultimately are the sole cause for that outrageous estimate do not receive a single penny.

If the NCAA had just let their athletes receive financial compensation, this would have never happened. Even if the salary was a small amount of money, at least star athletes like Shabazz Muhammad wouldn’t have to go to bed hungry. This scandal is completely the NCAA’s fault.