The Memphis Scandal: We Are All To Blame

Gabe MamboContributor IIIJune 2, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 26:  NBA Commissioner David Stern shakes hands with number one draft pick for the Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose during the 2008 NBA Draft at the Wamu Theatre at Madison Square Garden June 26, 2008 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The words of the headline may offend you. Hell, I'm offended by the headline as well. Who do I think I am to add such appalling words at the top of that page?

Well, I think I'm an aspiring sports writer trying to figure out what's going on here. At the same time, I'm also a basketball fan who is afraid that basketball is losing its luster.

But most of all, I'm a basketball fan who may have contributed to the scandal we have before ourselves.

Recently, it has come to our attention that a basketball player who played for the University of Memphis Tigers team in the 2007-2008 season cheated to get on the team. Instead of walking in and trying to take the test himself, a stand-in earned a 740 or 750 SAT score. That was good enough to allow the unnamed player entry into the school.

Add a changed grade in his high school record, and he's officially a cheat. He's officially a player who can admit he didn't always do that well in school.

He's probably Derrick Rose, but as of late, we're yet to confirm if he's the one in question. Rose has denied the allegations.

The University of Memphis has also denied the allegations that anyone cheated to gain entry into the school. Right now, there's apparently no record of fraud, according to school officials. If the allegations are true, though, then there will be no record of their historic 38-2 season.

The NBA has gone under some fire because of the NCAA scandal. Many attribute this resort to cheating a result of the new eligibility rules the league implemented three years ago.

The rules stated that any individual who wanted to be drafted had to wait a year before they could enter the draft. They also were required to be 19 years of age. This only applied to American basketball players, but the league seemed to have forgotten that's what the majority is made up of: American basketball players.

Fingers are being pointed to many parties.

Fingers are being pointed to the NBA for having players feel cheated out of going to the NBA whenever they desired. Fingers are being pointed to the University of Memphis for being so irresponsible, assuming they knowingly allowed a cheater to play for them, per the allegations. Fingers are being pointed to the player in question for taking the easy way out in order to be eligible for college basketball.

In the end, the answer should be clear. Apparently, we're not making the bold statement, because we hate to admit it.

All of us are to blame, my friends. Every single one of us.

The player in question—whether it would be Derrick Rose or whoever—is to blame for his irresponsibility.

Although his anger is understandable, his actions can't be. He shouldn't have resorted to employing a friend to do his test for him.

If he really wanted to play basketball at the University of Memphis, then he'd take a study guide, hire a tutor, and prepare for the SAT. He didn't have to cheat. He could have taken the test, and he probably would have passed with the score required if he studied hard.

He's to blame.

The University of Memphis is to blame if they knew they allowed a cheater on campus.

They should have denied him entry and shown him the error of his ways by keeping him off the court. Now, your program could be tarnished because of one cheating scandal that could have been avoided by condemning it. And now, your NCAA-record 38 wins will be wiped off the record. NCAA basketball books will have an asterisk next to your 2007-2008 record.

You're to blame for your own irresponsibility.

The NBA is to blame for limiting the choices of players.

Although their intentions may have been good, their actions were not. Like the player, your actions did not help your thoughts.

Instead, they damaged their relevance.

Why would you keep players out of the NBA Draft? I understand that you want to make sure players have futures, but I don't think all of the failed high school players end up being hobos on the streets.

Will there be more failed high school draft picks than successful ones? Definitely.

Still, the same can be said for all draft picks. One out of every 3,800 high school basketball players will make it to the NBA. That includes those who enter the draft after their freshmen, sophomore, or junior years of college. That also includes men like Tyler Hansbrough, who stay all four years in college.

The rarity is inevitable. There will always be a LeBron, Kobe, Garnett, or Dwight Howard among 10 to 15 high school busts. That's just the way the sports world goes.

There will always be a Sam Bowie to every Michael Jordan. Hell, there will be 20 Sam Bowies to every Michael Jordan.

You cannot prevent failure. You can only encourage success. And you, Mr. Stern, have done nothing but further the failure.

Your further failure is not the NBA, but in college basketball. You damaged the importance of NCAA basketball by trying to force it down the throats of NCAA players.

I'm sure plenty of NBA stars today could have skipped college to go to the NBA. Many of them went to college, though, and stayed for a considerable amount of time.

They were given free reign in their options, and saw the benefit of going to college. Their freedom to choose gave them freedom to appreciate a free education at a university in exchange for playing basketball. If they chose to go the NBA, then they felt they were ready. The previous system worked because it gave lenience to the players. They were able to choose.

Your current system only gives players the feeling that college basketball is a prison. They want to go to the NBA, but because of your ridiculous rules, they can't go.

The ones who are ready for the NBA go to college for a year, as required, then get drafted. The ones who aren't drafted are still cynical when they see the success of players like Durant, Rose, Beasley, and Mayo, and go to the NBA to follow suit.

So congratulations, Mr. Stern—you're to blame for limiting players' options.

We are to blame as well. We're to blame for not objecting to the one-and-done deal. We're to blame for encouraging "NBA, NBA" every single time, and then provoking the NBA to flip us off as a a response.

We are to blame for never believing the NBA is full of integrity. We should criticize them, but the league will not budge. It will continue to do as it desires, and we will get nothing.

We're to blame for wanting so much, and getting nothing in return. We're to blame for demanding.

When you look for someone to blame, don't look at one party. Look at the cheating player who refuses to show some integrity. Look at the school that allowed someone of the sort on their campus. Look at the league that tries to control the landscape of professional basketball. Look into a mirror and see the demanding hoops fan.

Look at everyone. We're all to blame.


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