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Volume 21 No. 35
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What they're saying

The FBI probe into men’s college basketball has generated a landslide of opinions on how to fix the game. Here are some of the recommendations and reactions, many of which drip with cynicism and doubt, to the current state of college basketball:

Inside college basketball


Photo: getty images

It’s their name and likeness. It’s not ours, it’s theirs. They should be able to make money. Maybe the school manages it, maybe the money goes to their parents for travel. And maybe there’s a limit on what they can do, and the rest they get when they leave here. It’s all stuff that can be done easily.”

— John Calipari, Kentucky coach

We shouldn’t be a place where somehow we’re a semi-pro, half-college this, half-college that … It’s all college. It’s college basketball. There’s a deep fundamental problem that we have to solve.”

— Michael Crow, Arizona State president, as told to The Arizona Republic

If their likeness is being used for profit while they’re playing college basketball, some of that should get back to them for sure.”

— Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State coach, as told to The Oregonian

Photo: getty images

“We’re really serious about … making really systemic change starting this spring and going forward through the summer.”

— Mark Emmert, NCAA president

The most influential voices have the opportunity to persuade the NBA and the NBA players association that they ought to let high school players go to the NBA if they are ready. I think that’s one of the key pillars to the solution space here.”

— Larry Scott, Pac-12 commissioner, as told to Yahoo Sports

As we’ve had to adapt as coaches and players, the people running college basketball have not been adaptive to the changes. In that regard, I think it might be a good thing if we produce positive change, and then produce a system that changes gradually.”

— Mike Krzyzewski, Duke coach, as told to ESPN

Player representation, payment


Photo: nbae / getty images

“The professional leagues need to be involved. College football and basketball have been great farm systems for the professional leagues. They need to be footing the bill on paying these guys.”

— Jason Whitlock on FS1

I think we could figure out something workable along those lines (of compensating players). But direct payments? It is simply unworkable. … I truly believe we need a national summit conference of college administrators, athletic directors, player reps, and even interested politicians to answer the question as to just what is fair and reasonable to expect from our college sports.”

— Bob Ryan, The Boston Globe

The notion that allowing college athletes to be compensated in cash for the services they provide will disrupt the NCAA’s delicate balance is founded on a fallacy. That balance does not exist. Never did.”

— Tim Sullivan, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal

Is there any logical reason why athletes in basketball should not be allowed agency representation while they are collegians? Baseball players always have been permitted ‘advisers’ when coping with the entry draft process. This was expanded in January to include hockey players. The prohibition against representation is antiquated and illogical.”

— Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News

An area up for substantive change: Endorsement opportunities and/or name/image/likeness revenue. A cut of jersey sales, being able to profit from autograph appearances — this would give the stars of the sport a cut of the pie, and temper some of the outrage on that front. [It] would certainly give the NCAA less to police. And less policing might be a good thing.”

— Pat Forde, Yahoo Sports

Where responsibility lies


As long as the NCAA holds tight to the concept of amateurism, and denies student-athletes the ability to secure representation, or accept fair-market value, this black market that could potentially sully the names of multiple Hall of Famers, and theoretically lead to blue bloods playing with reduced rosters as early as this weekend, will never go away no matter how many smart people are placed on a committee.”

— Gary Parrish,

Photo: nbae / getty images

“I can’t change the NCAA’s rules, but I can’t help but wonder why it is that an industry … that produces millions, if not billions of dollars, thinks that the culprit is the kid who makes no money, who helps generate the income, who takes something. What disturbs me is the focus on the players, rather than better focus on the system.”

— Michele Roberts, National Basketball Players Association executive director, as told to USA Today

Part of the NCAA enforcement response, I believe, should come from rethinking what there is for the NCAA to enforce. One partial solution is to pare down the kinds of things that are NCAA violations.”

— Josephine Potuto, Nebraska law professor and Committee on Infractions member, as told to Yahoo Sports

“Instead of villainizing the rule-makers; how about blaming the rule-breakers? Instead of lambasting the NCAA for some of its obviously archaic rules, why don’t [Jay] Bilas and [Dick] Vitale rip some of their buddies in the coaching profession for blatantly breaking some of the NCAA’s most basic rules? Like the one that says, um, YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO BUY PLAYERS!!!”

— Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel

Talk of a boycott


Wouldn’t it be a crazy thing if we saw players not just boycott a game in the NCAA tournament, but boycott a Final Four? Imagine how quickly the NCAA would realize it’s not just a business for themselves, but also a business for the athletes as well. That’s how you make change.”

— Jay Williams, ESPN analyst, on Twitter

If players boycotted the biggest moneymaker of the year, it would make an astronomical statement. But it would also take away the biggest moments of a lot of lives.”

— Jenny Dial Creech, Houston Chronicle

“So all the other 12 guys on scholarship on an NCAA team should ‘boycott the NCAA tournament’ because the one guy on the team that’s 1 and done can’t get a car or promote a fast food spot w/ their likeness … try running that by a team … idiotic.”

— Dan Dakich, ESPN analyst, on Twitter

— Compiled by Michael Smith