Sean Miller incident brings NCAA back into national spotlight

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“Everybody’s getting paid,” said Los Angeles Lakers rookie and ex-UCLA student-athlete Lonzo Ball.

Ball was asked Friday for his thoughts on the outbreak of information regarding an FBI probe that outlined how collegiate star recruits were monetarily incentivized by recruiters. The former Bruin says he didn’t take any money, but acknowledged that almost everyone knows a recruit who received money to play for a top school — a disturbing revelation that has redefined the way people view college basketball.

This revelation, however, is just one of a handful of examples that were brought to light in what seems to be a common occurrence.

This scandal began last September when the FBI revealed a two-year investigation into basketball recruiting and indicted 10 men on charges including bribery and wire fraud. One of the men arrested was Charles Dawkins, a former employee of ASM Sports. The FBI raided the office of ASM Sports and its chief agent, Andy Miller, and seized the documents that detailed their illegal recruiting practices.

The documents in question specifically mention Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Villanova among dozens of others as schools that deployed recruiting tactics against NCAA rules. The extensive list of teams comprises 10 of the current top 25 teams and the entirety of the top five teams.

In the Pac-12, two current USC players, Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, allegedly received $2,000 each. An FBI wiretap also revealed that Arizona head coach Sean Miller was involved in a $100,000 transaction surrounding star freshman Deandre Ayton.

This report comes right on the heels of an NCAA ruling last Tuesday that Louisville must vacate 123 wins from 2011 to 2015, including a national championship and two trips to the Final Four. This punishment comes in response to the university hiring strippers and sex workers for players and recruits.

While these reports are more widespread than past allegations, college basketball is no stranger to recruiting scandals.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette was suspended from the NCAA from 1973-1975 for committing more than 100 recruiting violations, including paying student-athletes, letting them borrow cars and letting them use university credit cards.

The University of Kentucky was placed on probation from 1989-1992 and banned from postseason play for two years after an assistant coach paid $1,000 to a player’s father.

St. Bonaventure University was put on probation from 2004 to 2007 and lost scholarships for two years after a recruit was admitted by the president with no qualifications.

The University of Miami lost three scholarships in 2013 for hosting parties for student-athletes and recruits at homes, yachts and in strip clubs. Members of its basketball staff also paid for meals, hotels for friends and bought clothes and gifts for current players.

Universities and coaches make millions off of college athletes, but the players don’t see a single penny. Major universities such as Alabama, Texas, Ohio State and Florida each make more than $100 million annually from athletics.

The latest Miller controversy has sparked the discussion as to whether or not the NCAA should continue the facade of amateurism and pay its players. There has yet to be real traction, but players, whether current or former, all seem to believe in some type of payment.

“Everybody’s getting paid anyway, you might as well make it legal,” Ball said.

Trilok Reddy is a Daily Cal Sports staffer. Contact him at [email protected].

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