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.”
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transfer Kareem Canty made a verbal agreement, but rescinded it hours later and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.
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!