While the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball has left a stain on the sport that will continue to grow, many people have already noted that this scandal could, in time, lead to a fairer, cleaner model for college sports. Louisville has been at the center of the scandal for alleging paying a prospect (likely Brian Bowen) $100,000 to sign with them, and that’s grabbed Kentucky governor Matt Bevin’s attention.
In an interview on Tuesday, Bevin urged the NCAA and Congress to let student-athletes get their share of the NCAA’s huge profits:
“The coaches are making millions of dollars a year. Shoe contracts are dictating what happens on our college campuses. Athletics directors and others associated with it that are making exorbitant fees. I don’t begrudge people making a high living. Good for them, and I mean that sincerely. But if that comes at the expense of those that are delivering the athletic prowess on the field, then maybe we should rethink the fact that this is really like the minor leagues for the professional sports associations, and they should be compensated and treated accordingly.”
In response to the FBI’s findings and Louisville coach Rick Pitino and AD Tom Jurich getting placed on unpaid leave, Bevin said he’s upset “this kind of shenanigans continues to go on” in college basketball. He then refuted the NCAA’s notion that college athletes are like regular students rather than professionals:
“I think we should pay college athletes. I really do. This idea that they’re not professionals is nonsense.
““They’re not there like normal students and we shouldn’t pretend that they are. Some of them, yes, go to class, but most of them are students differently because they’re there for athletics and not academics.”
Unless the NCAA turns recruiting into a free market — unlikely — there will still be room for corruption and bribery. Whatever the cap would be, schools could always funnel extra money to play just as they’ve been doing. Allowing players to get paid wouldn’t solve all of college basketball’s issues, but it certainly seems like a good starting point.