Oh, major college basketball. What a lovely open marriage between delusional imagery of academics and amateurism and show-me-the-money culture.
We didn’t need Friday’s explosive Yahoo! report to know, but now the whole country club knows. There’s no looking the other way.
If the NCAA were to act uncharacteristically quickly on documents and bank records obtained during discovery for the FBI’s current probe in the college basketball corruption case, we could see an NCAA tournament without Duke, North Carolina and Kansas, to name a few. In the SEC, scratch Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Crosshairs found Auburn months ago. The probe resulted in the firing of Bruce Pearl’s top assistant, Chuck Person, and suspension of two players and two support-staff members. More grief could come.
Of course, the NCAA won’t act so quickly. Maybe the governing body of college sports will simply bear the ugly commentary and still eke out one more tourney with network-pleasing, brand-name programs.
Maybe the NCAA will claim the issues involved were so pervasive that it’s impractical, even unfair, to punish them all. Make a show of legislating to change the culture without actually punishing the blue bloods.
Surely, the NCAA won’t let this be the year to give the “one-bid leagues” more chance to show what they have.
We saw an entertaining game Thursday, when the Ohio Valley Conference’s No. 2 team, Belmont, and No. 4 hopeful Jacksonville State played before a loud “blackout” crowd in Pete Mathews Coliseum. One bets it even looked good on ESPNU.
For one year, one-bid leagues could play the happy, well-adjusted children, putting a good face on the exposed open marriage, right? Of course not.