August 12, 2010
Not the words many want to hear, but words that probably need to be said from the mouth of a high authority in collegiate athletics.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is certainly that, and he gave USA Today some pretty eye-opening quotes when talking about the agent culture that's ensconced the college game.
Delany's quotes are tied in with the Anthony Davis situation that bubbled up at the end of last week. Davis' father threatened to sue the Chicago Sun-Times for stating his family had put a price tag on his son's recruitment. We are still waiting for that gauntlet to be thrown.
Delany's quotes from the USA Today story:
In basketball, he maintains the NCAA still has a long way to go. "There is a loss of confidence among many coaches that the rules are being complied with. The best way I can describe it is a sense of cynicism," he says.
"I'm talking about the corruption of the youth basketball program, the money that's used to influence recruiting. And ultimately the buying of players, either through third parties or through coaches or coaches and third parties — agents. I can't tell you if it's three institutions or whether it's 15. But make no mistake about it; it's happening.. .. It's a corruption issue."
Sure it's a corruption issue. A massive one, and it remains to be seen just how bad it is. Who knows if we'll ever truly find out the number of rules that are being broken, because it's easy for the NCAA to lose its grip when there are so many teams and players and coaches (and, hello, the real problem: agents and runners) to keep watch over.
Still, so many suits often times skirt issues or play aloof (just think back to all the obfuscation that surrounded tournament expansion in March) when it comes to speaking publicly about the bad sides of college sports. Delany's not running scared here, and it's refreshing to see. Facing the problems, admitting them and taking action to further try and stop cheating (which will never cease, I know) is the NCAA's only move right now.
Now, with three more investigators put on the payroll who are sent out to sniff down the sleaze — and in the wake of the Reggie Bush saga/the monthly barrage of claims that are thrown Kentucky and John Calipari's way — the NCAA needs to pound this message home continually.