The college basketball betting season may be over, but there’s no end to the shenanigans off the court. The sport as an industry is on the cusp of monumental change. You have an investment in the health of the industry and that’s why you should pay attention to what happens off the court.
The NCAA had a PR nightmare on its hands when Connecticut Huskies point guard Shabazz Napier went on FOX Sports and told reporters that he wasn’t getting enough to eat. “I don’t feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving,” Napier replied when asked if he thought players should get paid.
That interview was first posted on YouTube on March 27. But once the Huskies won the National Championship on April 7, CNN took those comments and made them part of a larger piece discussing the NCAA’s restrictive rules on food intake. One week later, the NCAA stepped in and announced that all Division I athletes can receive unlimited meals and snacks. “(If) UConn wants to feed Shabazz breakfast in bed every day, they can,” NCAA president Mark Emmert told reporters, admitting that his organization had “all kinds of… dumb rules about food.”
Roasted Above an Open Flame
Unfortunately for Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl, those relaxed rules don’t apply to the 2008 barbecue he hosted for a recruit and his family, while Pearl was still in charge of the Tennessee Volunteers program. Pearl was eventually fired in 2011 and given a three-year “show-cause” penalty for lying to the NCAA. The penalty prevents Pearl from doing any recruiting until August 23, 2014.
Because it’s a show-cause penalty, it travels with Pearl to his new employers. And Auburn announced on Tuesday that it would not seek to have the penalty lifted. Tigers AD Jay Jacobs said in a prepared statement that he “felt strongly that not appealing the show-cause order was the right thing to do, and Coach Pearl wholeheartedly agreed we should not contest it.” Pearl says he’ll leave the recruiting up to his assistants until then. JUCO transfer Cinmeon Bowers has already committed to Auburn; Marshall transfer Kareem Canty made a verbal agreement, but rescinded it hours later and may choose instead to join the USF Bulls.
Does Liquor Count as Food?
If you’re feeling thirsty after all that food talk, choose your beverage carefully. Illinois forward Darius Paul, a Western Michigan transfer and the younger brother of former Fightin’ Illini shooting guard Brandon Paul, was arrested Tuesday morning for underage drinking and resisting arrest. These are Class A misdemeanor charges with a maximum penalty of a year less a day in the county jail. The News-Gazette says Paul, 20, is due back in court on May 16.
It remains to be seen how Tuesday’s incident will affect Paul’s status in Champaign. He was named the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2012-13 after posting 16.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per 40 minutes for the Broncos. Paul left the program in order to play at a higher level; he had originally been recruited by Florida and other big-name teams before choosing Western Michigan. Oh well. At least he’s getting fed and we still have a variety of NCAA Basketball picks to choose from!