VIDEO: Kylia Carter, Wendell Carter’s mother, delivers impassioned anti-NCAA speech at Knight Commission

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Kylia Carter knows all-too-well about the perils of the NCAA.

She herself is a former student-athlete, having been a scholarship basketball player at Ole Miss in the 1980s. Wendell Carter Sr., her husband, played at Delta State and professionally in the Domincan Republic. Her son, Wendell Carter Jr., was a top five prospect that played at Duke. The family in the course of Jr.’s recruitment, wound up reportedly sharing a meal with Christian Dawkins, which became public knowledge when Yahoo Sports was able to get their hands on the expense reports that Dawkins filed with the agent, Andy Miller, he worked for.

Suffice to say, she knows a thing or two about the realities of big-time college basketball.

She’s also ‘woke’. She understands the value of an education — she pushed her son to attend Harvard for his one-and-done season — and is aware of the fact that the life her and her family lead is different than the life that is led by most black families in America.

That is why she was such an intriguing choice to speak at the Knight Commission, an independent group that promotes reform to strengthen the educational mission of college sports. Not only is she an outspoken advocate for change regarding the NCAA’s arcane amateurism by-laws, but she does it while trumpeting the value of an education.

And the major point that Kylia makes during her 12-minute speech on Monday is simple: There is no actual value to the education that the NCAA members provide to players like her son, because athletes like Wendell Carter Jr. are not being recruited because of the value they bring to the academic community on campus, they are being recruited because they excel in a sport that provides massive financial windfalls for the school.

She also makes it clear that she understands the value of a scholarship; if she didn’t she would not have pushed her son to play at Harvard. But what value are athletes going to get out of two semesters worth of introductory courses, particularly when they are basketball players that spend half of each semester dealing with travel schedules that force them to play mid-week games away from home?

I’ve spent enough time ranting about amateurism and the Commission on College Basketball recently, and if that is the kind of thing you are interested in, read this and this. I won’t bore you with those arguments today.

What I will say, however, is that Kylia Carter knows how this system works from just about every angle.

When she talks, you should at the very least listen to what she says and take it to heart.

And what she said Monday was quite powerful.

(We discussed this during the most recent CBT Podcast.)

The video is above. Below is a transcription of the most important part of it all.

As we grew in this business and we pull back all the layers, and I began to see what I was actually looking at. To be honest with you, it’s nauseating.

To have the opportunity to say this and not say it, I’ll feel like I felt when I was a student-athlete at Mississippi and my friends were in classrooms being called horrific names, having food and things thrown at them as they were walking past the union. And them saying these things to me and me telling them, ‘Surely not. There’s no way that’s happening. This is a wonderful place. I’m having such a great time. Everything is going so wonderful. What are you talking about?’

And so I migrated to the people that were having experiences like mine instead of those that were having trouble that looked like me, that were having real struggles.

So, I say that to say, I cannot be here now and not say that when I pull back the layers, the problem I see is not with the student-athlete, it’s not with the coaches or the institutions of higher learning, but it’s with a system like the only system that I have ever seen, where the laborers are the only people that are not being compensated for the work that they do, while those in charge receive mighty compensation. The only two systems that I’ve known that to be in place is slavery and the prison system.

And now I see the NCAA. The overseers of a system that is identical for that.

So it’s very difficult for me to sit here and not say that there is a problem that is sickening. But the problem isn’t being directed in the right place. And I think that it should be. And I think that the covers should be pulled back and everyone be able to see the truth and what’s happening to the student-athlete and their family. Because once these students are recruited to these institutions of higher learning—which are fantastic; I am a proponent of academic excellence, a proponent of education, a proponent of knowledge. I love it. It’s beautiful to me. That’s why my son had such a hard time selecting between Harvard and Duke, because his mother and father wanted him to go to Harvard because of the experience for a man that looks like him. Though he didn’t choose it, I am so ever grateful that he went to Duke. It was a wonderful experience and everything that he needed it to be to get him to this next level.

Still, after the infractions that they accused us of doing—something with one of the people being investigated by the FBI. But I was still flabbergasted at the people that were being indicted. I knew some of those people.

I know for a fact that this has been going on since I was being recruited. I’m a female, so I know that the recruitment was vastly for male athletes, and it was corrupt then. I remember kids not being able to pass the ACT test. They called them Prop 48 students. And they would let the Prop 48 students come to school and play, knowing that they couldn’t pass the academic portions. But they let them in school anyway. They would tell you it was to afford you this scholarship.

No. It’s because of the money that you would bring to that institution for playing all those years. Or you being a part of that program. At the end of the day, the talent is being purchased. The talent is being purchased, but the talented are not receiving any of the benefit. The colleges are only recruiting the talented kids for their talent, not because they will excel at their academic institution. So why is that the benefit of them going to that institution. I want them to go, but I want them to go for two years. If you’re going to make them go, make them go and get something from it.

Why can’t they go to college and get this two-year certificate in this professional sport that they are pursuing if they are that talented, so that they are aware and educated on the business of the sport that they want to [play]?

There’s a model that’s similar to this overseas, where the get the kids out of high school. Luka Doncic [a Slovenian playing for Real Madrid that is the potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft] has been playing professional for years. There’s a program in place to do that for him.

Why is there not something to protect these children that look like my son and me, to protect them as they pursue what their talents have afforded them to pursue? And I’m not talking about an agent, I’m talking about a not-for-profit organization to teach them and help them, and to teach them to stay close-knit and do the things so they can remain successful.

I’m going to stop because I will continue and go on and on. My mission, my goal and my understanding for being here is to protect and hopefully help everyone to see the need to surround the athlete and protect them and their families moving forward.

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.