Right as Ryan: College hoops fouling out

Ryan Chae, Sports Editor

News broke two weeks ago  that the FBI was on the trail of taking down a major criminal organization, known for its corruption. Already, members from multiple crime families have been arrested.  This crime syndicate is none other than the collegiate basketball world.

With only a month before the beginning of the  season, the sports world was rocked by the unexpected news of the corruption in the college basketball as a federal investigation  discovered that various coaches, administrators, investors and sneaker executives were funneling money through bribes and payoffs.

As more findings of corruption are released, it’s clearer than ever that today’s system just isn’t cutting it. When a two-year federal investigation is required to uncover corruption of  the  system of college basketball, I don’t know what’s a bigger sign that change is necessary.

From Hall of Fame coaches like Rick Pitino being placed on “paid administrative leave” to the director of Adidas global sports marketing being accused of making bribes worth over $150,000, the alleged corruption has affected everyone involved in the world of college basketball. More importantly, the players are the center of all of it, allegedly taking bribes to “advertise” certain shoe companies, joining the right school and supporting specific investors.

Now the issue of bribery is not something new to sports, with past incidents such as the Ed Martin scandal that vacated the success of Michigan’s Fab Five and Reggie Bush’s fallout with USC. However, a federal level investigation that has already accused eight top schools of criminal charges is unheard of.

When there’s a disease, there’s always been a cure. From gambling to performance enhancement drugs, sports seemed to always find a way to control the problems, yet bribery in college basketball has been an issue that dates back over 50 years ago. Only sanctions have been implemented, not any changes to game.

When huge shoe companies like Adidas, Nike and Jordan have begun taking over the endorsements of schools, bribery is sure to follow at an even higher rate. At this point, Big Baller Brand looks like the purest sneaker company out there.

The topic of money and college sports has always been one of the most controversial issues as the NCAA has tried to emphasize their focus on “amateur athletes.” Yet isn’t it hypocritical that this organization is making billions of dollars off these students and the “amateurs” don’t get to see a single dime?

This organization is unable to see the failures in their own system while they gorge on the fat cash from television  deals and shoe endorsements.

As bold and outrageous as this sounds, considering this proposal would end a system that has lasted for the last 110 years, I think that it’s time that these student athletes are paid or, at least, compensated for the revenue they bring to the “amateur” level of sports.

For college students to be paid for their role in sports would be unprecedented, but more importantly, it would even the playing ground for recruitment as it would make it harder for shady schools, companies and coaches to influence players when they’re already making money to support themselves.

Also, it would help eliminate the possibility of court cases such as the infamous Ed O’Bannon v. NCAA trial in which former players sued the NCAA for using their likeness in products.

Truly, it is ridiculous how deep corruption has drilled itself into the system of college basketball. But what’s even more blasphemous is how long it took to discover the evidence for the case. Right now, college basketball is on the verge of  a total collapse in credibility and respect. The only thing that will save the system, and possibly the NCAA, is compensation.