Future of NCAA Men’s Basketball left uncertain in wake of scandal

Head coach Jim Larrañaga speaking at Miami basketball's media day in November of 2016. Larrañaga's lawyer says the seventh-year coach has no knowledge of the bribery. Photo credit: Josh White

With college basketball season right around the corner, some NCAA Men’s Basketball teams, including our very own Miami Hurricanes, have been in the spotlight, though the attention has been far from glamorous.

It is alleged several coaches organized the bribery of students through Adidas to steer top athletes into signing with particular schools, in the hopes that players will sign with Adidas once they go pro. Payments were also allegedly funneled to the families of players who committed to play at certain colleges that were partnered with the company.

There were reports that a student athlete was promised $150,000 to commit to a school that meets the description of the University of Miami, identified as “University-7” in initial reports. Details are still being investigated and no students have been named in the controversy.

As a sports-loving student, I was disappointed by the revelations. Not only do I enjoy watching college basketball, but I’m in love with all college sports. I’m a strong believer that college sports are simply better than professional sports.

You can see the drive in college athletes that you don’t often see in professional athletes. You see the desire to reach the big leagues through the sweat shed at every game, meet and tournament. College athletes have to work extra hard to become professionals, and many don’t make it.

So when a company funnels money to players to “motivate” them to commit to certain schools, it bothers me. In committing an act of bribery, you take the love and passion out of the game by adding dollar signs to an equation that should be based off merit. A player’s mindset can be impacted and they may end up not caring as much about a win or loss anymore since, in the back of their minds, they have the funds to support themselves for the time being.

Even if it’s just one player, chances are that player is a talented athlete who can change the direction of the team. Money can drive a wedge between team members if one player only focuses on himself.

It makes me upset to know that such a thing can happen in college sports and that certain individuals have been getting away with it.

The players and coaches directly involved have a legacy to uphold, and yet, they have served as a detrimental example to aspiring college athletes. Not only can this leave one questioning the future of the Miami Hurricanes but NCAA Men’s Basketball in its entirety.

Morgan Threatt is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism.