clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

McLemore Case Points Out Need For NCAA To Be Realistic

We're not really sure yet what to think of the Ben McLemore case yet, but based on what we do know so far, it's hard to see how Kansas is responsible for any of it.

To sum up: his former AAU coach, Darius Cobb, says he took two $5,000 payments from Rodney Blackstock. Blackstock runs Hooplife Academy, apparently in Greensboro, which is as of early Monday morning entirely offline. ZoomInfo has this information about him.

The basic inference is that Blackstock is a runner and used Blackstock to get to McLemore.

Cobb said he went to LA three times with McLemore's cousin Richard Boyd. Presumably Boyd didn't pay for his own tickets.

Blackstock allegedly went to three Kansas games on comp tickets provided by McLemore and paid for a birthday party for McLemore at a local bowling alley.

McLemore's mother is also alleged to have sat with Blackstock when Kansas visited Texas.

There are two points here to consider:

1) there's absolutely no evidence Kansas had any knowledge of any of this; and 2) the rules are now completely pointless.

The NCAA is operating in an environment which basically ignores reality and markets.

Clearly, there is an enormously lucrative market for talented basketball players. Just as clearly, as soon as they are identified, people try to make money off of their talents - agents, coaches, neighbors, family members.

Everyone wants a cut.

Increasingly, the definition of amateur athletics becomes ridiculous. What the NCAA inherited way back when was a British idea that wealthy young men could pursue sporting interests in a way which locked everyone else out. That got grafted onto college sports and for a while, it wasn't the worst thing in the world. You played ball for a few years, got a four-year scholarship (which worth was much less than it is today, by the way) and went out in the world with a college education.

Before the G.I. bill, that was a rarity.

Pro sports were a limited option (especially basketball) and a lot of professional athletes had part-time jobs to help make ends meet.

Obviously that's changed. Keith Lee got a "shoebox full of money" to go to Memphis (then Memphis State in 1981; when Chris Webber was dealing with Ed Martin, he got nearly $300,000.

Who knows what the going rate is now. The point though is that the idea of amateurism as we've understood it is completely irrelevant to the reality of the game today.

There is absolutely no chance that the idea of amateurism we've known is going to survive and the sooner the NCAA comes to grips with that the better.

Here's a thought: why not consider some sort of scale for compensation and tie it to academic performance?  Then you can at least cling to the fig leaf of academics.