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.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.

South Carolina, Staley cancel BYU games over racial incident

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley have canceled a home-and-home series with BYU over a recent racial incident where a Cougars fan yelled slurs at a Duke volleyball player.

The Gamecocks were scheduled to start the season at home against BYU on Nov. 7, then play at the Utah campus during the 2023-24 season.

But Staley cited BYU’s home volleyball match last month as reason for calling off the series.

“As a head coach, my job is to do what’s best for my players and staff,” Staley said in a statement released by South Carolina on Friday. “The incident at BYU has led me to reevaluate our home-and-home, and I don’t feel that this is the right time for us to engage in this series.”

Duke sophomore Rachel Richardson, a Black member of the school’s volleyball team, said she heard racial slurs from the stands during the match.

BYU apologized for the incident and Richardson said the school’s volleyball players reached out to her in support.

South Carolina said it was searching for another home opponent to start the season.

Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner spoke with Staley about the series and supported the decision to call off the games.