When The Commission on College Basketball was formed to analyze the problems of the sport that were brought to light by an FBI investigation into corruption, there weren’t many in or around the sport that truly believed it would be game-changing exercise.
The expectation, mostly, was that there would be some hand-wringing, some suggestions that tackle little of the fundamental problems and not a whole lot more.
That’s pretty much what The Commission delivered.
Now, we’ve come to find out why, or at least one reason, there was not a closer and more honest look at a solution that could actually make a positive difference in the sport – both for players and those who want the game to push the illicit aspects further to the fringes. The reason, of course, was not to upset the money-making apple cart.
“Certainly kids should be able to benefit from their name, image and likeness,” NBA Hall of Famer and Rice Commission member David Robinson said Monday.
The Commission, as Robinson indicates, didn’t want to address it because of pending litigation.
Last I checked, there was pending litigation for the nine people, including four assistant coaches, who are facing charges stemming for the FBI’s investigation. That didn’t stop Rice and Co. from addressing shoe company involvement, the structure of grassroots hoops and punishment for coaches who run afoul of the rules. But pending litigation that might strip NCAA member institutions from their ability to solely profit from their athletes’ name and likeness? That’s the bridge too far?
This is, again, the crux of the problem facing the NCAA. President Mark Emmert and whoever succeeds him and whoever succeeds that person and on to infinity can assemble as many committees, commissions and panels as they want, but if the fundamental issue — people want to pay good college basketball players good money — isn’t addressed, what are we even doing here?
(We discussed this during the most recent CBT Podcast.)
Passing off the responsibility because of “pending litigation” rings so hollow and as an abdication of responsibility.
It is maddening.
But of course players should be able to profit off themselves, but we, the group of people tasked with helping “clean up the game,” didn’t want to wade into those waters. Instead, we’ll just say the NCAA, which I may remind you is the governing body overseeing the sport that has garnered FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT INVOLVEMENT, should take over summer basketball. Sound good? Cool.
The Rice Commission wasn’t serious about actually fixing the problems of college basketball if it purposefully, willingly and strategically avoided the problem that is explicitly created by the system and its rules.
All of this is a waste of time.