NCAA Corruption Report Ignites Reaction from Coaches, NBA Players, More

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2018

A closeup view of an official game ball with the March Madness logo during a second-round men's college basketball game between Villanova and Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Bill Wippert/Associated Press

Following the release of a report detailing corruption in college basketball, many players, coaches and observers in the college and professional ranks have weighed in.     

On Friday, Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported federal documents linked programs and players to the issuing and receiving of impermissible benefits.

Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC and Alabama were among the schools listed in the report, while Michigan State's Miles Bridges, Alabama's Collin Sexton and Duke's Wendell Carter were mentioned as well.        

Several high-profile NBA rookies reportedly received loans while in high school or college, including Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks, Markelle Fultz of the Philadelphia 76ers and Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat.

The investigation has led to plenty of talk regarding whether college athletes should be paid.

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball told Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles that they should: "All the money they generate for the programs and stuff, it's kind of an unfair system. ... Everybody knows everybody's getting paid and that's how it is. Everybody's getting paid anyway. You might as well make it legal. That's how I feel."

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant also supported paying college athletes and said there is "hypocritical money talk in college sports," per Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated.

Legendary college basketball coach and announcer Dick Vitale is on board with paying players as well, telling TMZ Sports, "[The NCAA is] making zillions of dollars. Why not allow it? Let them get paid. I really believe that in my heart, because this has gotten totally out of control right now."

Shaun King of The Intercept wrote that NCAA lawyers, when responding to a separate lawsuit over paying players, cited the 13th Amendment's exception for unpaid prison labor.

In response, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves tweeted, "Honestly, this doesn’t shock me at all about the NCAA."     

Some from the football world offered their two cents as well.

University of Connecticut head football coach Randy Edsall supported the idea of paying student-athletes:

He also tweeted that there are "plenty of [college football] head coaches and assistants who are nervous" because of the NCAA basketball probe.

Dane Evans, who is a quarterback for the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, agreed with Edsall's assessment:

Former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White expressed dismay with the FBI's focus on student-athlete payment:

The media also had some opinions on the matter.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports had a message for NCAA President Mark Emmert:

ESPN's Josina Anderson stood up for the student-athletes and called on the NCAA to stop profiting from them for free:

Public support for paying college athletes appears to be mounting, but the NCAA has offered no signs it intends to change its system.

In September, four assistant college basketball coaches were arrested in a bribery case, and with the latest investigation, the topic of conversation appears unlikely to go away anytime soon.

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