Arizona Basketball Coach’s Plight Might Become Too Common

More College Basketball Developments The Arizona Board of Regents is holding a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. ET and there won’t be a lot of happy talk. The...

More College Basketball Developments

The Arizona Board of Regents is holding a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. ET and there won’t be a lot of happy talk.

The University of Arizona’s men’s basketball program has been in flux for nearly a week, since the revelations that coach Sean Miller was recorded on FBI wiretaps arranging for payments of about $100,000 to get Deandre Ayton to attend the school.

Miller did not coach the team last Saturday after the news broke; Ayton played. Feel free to ask your own questions here. And Miller is still not with the team, though he has said he is “confident I will be vindicated.” Well, what was he supposed to say? “I’m confident I will be dismissed” essentially destroys all hope.

The Board of Regents said their meeting is for purposes of “legal advice and discussion regarding University of Arizona men’s basketball and the multiple-year employment contract for the head men’s basketball coach.” They don’t sound like the vindicating kind. And the meeting is closed to the public.

Question: Is that really how much good college basketball players cost these days? All the soft-hearted folks are saying the NCAA should pay the players. Seems like somebody got paid. And if Ayton got six figures, you may be assured others elsewhere did as well, as other allegations state. Second, is this what the FBI does with its time? Such payments certainly violate NCAA rules, but did some federal statute come into play here? Is this bribery, or two sides just cutting a deal that the boss (the NCAA) would frown upon?

This much is true: College sports are not really for college students. They cannot try out for the team. They cannot hope to compete with the semi-professionals brought in under the guise of being student-athletes. The only way college sports are for college students is as entertainment. Their athletics fee usually gets them tickets to the games.

Miller is only a symptom of a corrupted system, assuming he did what is alleged and maybe even if he did not. As is so often said of those arrested – if they didn’t do this, they probably did something else.

Either pay the players or let actual students compete (as if anyone would want to see that). Your Friendly Neighborhood Blog (FNB) finds it less and less palatable that colleges keep raising their prices, yet have become gigantic entertainment venues nearly unrelated to the academic mission.

That said, FNB eagerly awaits Thursday’s Big Ten tournament game between Maryland (FNB’s alma mater) and Wisconsin. This blog wants to have it both ways. And that’s part of the problem.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

Follow @TwistityNews