Here’s hoping Samuels’ suspension for $200 isn’t forgotten

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When Kansas State suspended senior Jamar Samuels or Saturday’s NCAA tournament game against Syracuse, it didn’t sit well with coach Frank Martin. Taking $200 so he could eat wasn’t wrong, the coach said.

Martin isn’t the only one.

Samuels’ case evoked compelling reads from Dave Zirin and Jason Whitlock, both of whom argue that the suspension couldn’t have been more idiotic. Two excerpts below.

Whitlock:

Samuels came to Kansas State dreaming of being an NBA player. He’ll leave Manhattan, Kan., with a degree and as the winningest player in the history of the school. It’s a great legacy that was tarnished by the NCAA’s fraudulent, president-celebrated, media-enforced “amateur” bracket pool.

College basketball and its NCAA tournament are a government-approved, nationally televised, multibillion-dollar scam and we’re supposed to care that Malone gave Samuels $200 to spend while K-State was visiting Pittsburgh? Really?

Zirin:

Let’s say Samuels did take the $200. Let’s say he walked on the court with two Ben Franklin’s pinned to his shirt. My only problem with that would be that it wasn’t more money and didn’t come from the NCAA instead of Curtis Malone. This March Madness tournament brings in $10.8 billion in television funds alone, comprising 90 percent of the NCAA’s operating budget and underwriting the lavish salaries of everyone we don’t pay to watch. NCAA President Mark Emmert won’t disclose his salary as leader of his “nonprofit” but it’s thought to be in excess of $2 million a year. He has fourteen vice presidents, each of whom make at least $400,000 annually. They are paid to make sure Jamar Samuels and friends don’t get a dime. What proud work.

This case isn’t cast in a light of Samuels breaking the rules. It’s being cast in terms of right and wrong and deserves some further consideration, particularly when college basketball is such a focal point right now.

But it won’t be. The only thing that would’ve elevated this would’ve been a Kansas State win.Would Samuels have been eligible this week? Would any outrage have caused the NCAA to re-think the suspension?

Now it’s just another suspension of a player who won’t be back next season. When something like this happens during the Final Four, then we’ll hear outrage beyond sports writers.

One would hope.

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