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-The Five Spot

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

seedier side of sports...

Bellini likes sports and since we’re on the eve of March Madness and I read this article about my alma mater’s basketball coach – a 3 part series-sport buffs read it. Basically, it appears Williams is taking the high ground prefers the clean, respectable approach to wooing players to my alma mater’s program. Not to say other coaches don’t, but as a friend of mine put it – Williams ain’t kissin’ these youngin’ asses. “Unlike many of his competitors, Williams steadfastly refuses to pursue any recruit, even the best players in the nation, who requires that his travel team coach be accommodated with jobs or other benefits. He has not had a sniff of NCAA violations, and has avoided players who carried significant excess baggage.” Remember this quote later…

Now as you know predominantly with football and basketball, there are scores of leagues these kids can play for, some of these leagues are pipelines to certain Division I schools, as are their academic schools, too. And we know that disproportionately for black kids who dominate in these Division I schools tend to come from the lower socio-economic rung. And some of these leagues’ coaches are from the same streets as these players. And knowing that these leagues’ coaches come from the same streets they know money talks and bullshit walks. Don’t forget shoe companies helped turn the youth basketball scene into a multimillion-dollar industry. I once had a friend say, everybody is making money off of the players, but the players. To put things in perspective, in 1999 the CBS Network paid the NCAA $6,000,000,000 – 6 billion dollars to air the NCAA games thru 2013 – ka ching! And let’s not forget the corporate sponsors beefing up college endowments and paying for arenas, stadiums, athletic gear, trips, etc. And for many of these players they know this is their only shot to get mama and n’em right –change zipcodes, put the lil’ siblings, and or nieces and nephews in private school, and so perhaps you can understand there must be a premium to wooing them. And yet should there be?...

The prominent role sports leagues have taken in basketball guarantees there is another intermediate besides the parents of the player and the college athletic team. Like I mentioned before, some of these intermediates grew up with mama and n’em and knew Pee Wee before he knew himself. And these intermediates at times are surrogate fathers or provide avuncular attributes – therefore these mentors are trusted by the player and his family. And by virtue of them coming from these mean streets and perhaps having checkered pasts, they want to ensure the youth doesn’t follow their former paths. And since money talks, they will and do leverage their clout. A former league coach, Dalonte Hill, coached coveted high school players. “Hill was hired at Kansas State, reportedly for $420,000 a year, to work under Coach Bob Huggins, who acknowledged later that he knew Beasley would follow Hill. Beasley signed with Kansas State, led the nation in rebounding and was third in scoring, and was picked second overall in the 2008 NBA draft.” So, my alma mater’s head coach retorts, “Maryland could not pay an assistant coach a salary in that range. "To bring Beasley, it cost $450,000, for sure," he said. "We know that. We didn't have $450,000. So we are not going to get Beasley."
Maryland also didn't get two other [league] recruits -- forwards Rodney McGruder and Wally Judge -- who have signed with Kansas State for next season.

Could it be said that if a man earns on average $2,000,000 (Coach Gary Williams) per year, that his employer is paying him to do him?
But if my alma mater ain't seen the Elite 8, let alone the championship in just shy of a decade -- is the gig up?
And yet, don't we prefer a man of principles isn't that why we elected our first black president at all costs and we trust his judgment in the long run will make prudent sense?

Well, March Madness you couldn't come soon enough. Answers please.



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