One of the biggest questions that I’ve gotten since Yahoo’s report that a number of different college basketball players were in a spreadsheet that Christian Dawkins filed as an expense report with ex-NBA agent Andy Miller is how this process works with the NCAA.
How would they even investigate this?
The answer can be found with something that Michigan State made public on Monday. The school announced that during their investigation into the report that Yahoo published, they found that members of the Bridges family had a meal paid for by an agent during the 2016-17 season without Miles’ knowledge. The dinner was valued at $40. Michigan State immediately declared Bridges ineligible and self-reported the violation to the NCAA.
The NCAA then required Bridges to make restitution — donating the value of the dinner to a charity of his choosing — and then immediately reinstated his eligibility.
Something similar happened with Collin Sexton of Alabama earlier this season. A meal involving a member of Sexton’s family and an agent was discovered after it appeared that Sexton’s father and a member of the Alabama staff were mentioned in the FBI’s complaint. The value of that dinner was higher, as Sexton was suspended for the season opener before being cleared to play.
That this process exists was the crux of Louisville’s appeal to the NCAA over the scandal involving strippers and sex workers that were brought into the dorms. Louisville’s argument was that since the value of those parties was so low that if they had been discovered in real time, this process would have played out and the players that were retroactively ruled ineligible would have been immediately reinstated. Put another way, Louisville’s argument would be that the dollar value is similar to the dollar value of what Bridges received, so if Michigan State doesn’t have to vacate the wins that he participated in, they shouldn’t have to, either.
Either way, it’s a silly process that assumes guilt until innocence is proven over a non-consequential amount of money in a sport where the labor doesn’t have a chance to earn their market value.
I’m just happy they didn’t decide to try and make an example out of any of the kids that showed up in those spreadsheets.