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Willful ignorance or plausible deniability? If you are a basketball fan you are aware Rick Pitino has been fired from his coaching job at the University of Louisville because the scandal surrounding the fact that players were paid to sign with the school. Louisville is not the school accused of these actions. Recently Pitino did an interview with Jay Bilas for ESPN, during this interview Pitino stated that he had no knowledge of players being paid.

After watching the interview, listening to comments and reading comments it seems that most people do not believe Pitino’s response that he had no knowledge of the illegal activity. The comments center around that he is the head coach and how was he not aware of the reason these players decided to attend his program, he was also involved in a previous scandal and he made the same claim of not having knowledge. Many believe after the first scandal he would be more hands-on and more aware of his staff activities. This is a fair assessment, but is he responsible for every person, can he be there for the players, his family, coaching and other duties. Pitino during the interviewed stated he was given a lie detector test and he passed the test. Some may believe this makes him innocent, but it also depends on what was asked and how was the question asked. For example, if he was asked about a specific incident he might not be aware of that specific incident. He might have an overall knowledge of the recruiting tactics but not specific knowledge. I think all coaches know how these players are recruited. As I stated in a previous post the players deserve to be paid for their talents.

Do I believe that coach Pitino was willfully ignorant or utilizing plausible deniability, I do not know and I do not care. These coaches are using everything they can to remain competitive, these schools rely on these programs being competitive. This is the college sports recruiting game and this has been a part of it for many years and will remain a part of the recruiting process. Players family members get hired by the school, players siblings get to go to the school for free and no one says anything about this. They want to bring down legendary individuals because one man got caught doing something he knew was wrong, so instead of taking his medicine, he would rather destroy the game of basketball.


What happened to the Atlanta Hawks? It wasn’t so long ago the Hawks were one of the elite teams in the NBA. For some time, the Hawks had perennial all-star Joe Johnson along with should have been all-star Josh Smith. After this regime, the Hawks had maybe one of the best team with five good players Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll. Four of the five were all-stars in 2015. Usually, teams on the verge of greatness build on what they have but for some reason, the Hawks went the opposite way.

During the 2014-2015 season, the Hawks finished first in their division, Mike Budenholzer, the coach, was named coach for the East All-Star team and four Hawks players were named to that same All-Star team. The Hawks record that year was 60 wins and 22 loses. The only team who had a better record that season was the Golden State Warriors who went on to win the championship that season. The Warriors build on their success, so why didn’t the Hawks do the same thing?

I am not fortunate enough to have an inside ear on what is going on with the Atlanta Hawks but this has to be a severe case of mismanagement or no understanding of basketball. I know in the beginning of the season the Hawks had to deal with the scandal surrounding their general manager Danny Ferry, eventually, Danny left the organization but this is the same season the Hawks won 60 games. If they are going to blame the downfall on Danny Ferry then Danny is either a great basketball mind and that the reason for the success or the scandal did more damage than we thought and that is the reason for the fall. I believe the reason for the fall is bad management. The team loses DeMarre Carroll, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap in free agency when the Hawks can pay them more than any other team. They trade Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague for nothing. I understand maybe management feels Dennis Schroder is the future point guard for the Hawks and Korver is getting older. In the Teague trade, the Hawks get the 12th pick in the draft, which turns out to be Taurean Prince. Prince is a poor man’s DeMarre Carroll, so they should have resigned Carroll. They traded Korver for Mike Dunleavy and Mo Williams both players are no longer in the league.

The Hawks went from one of the best teams in the league to one of the worst teams in the league in two seasons. The best players now are Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore, two players who are not household names and do not sell tickets. I do not hear many NBA comments talking about the downfall of the Hawks. But I was just sitting here wondering WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ATLANTA HAWKS?

I am sure by now everyone has heard about the recent scandal surrounding college basketball. Anyway, I will not bore you with the sorted details but in a nutshell, several assistant coaches from prestigious colleges have been arrested by the FBI for paying players to attend these colleges. Well-known coaches such as Rick Pitino from the University of Louisville have been let go. Other coaches may follow in Pitino’s foot-steps. 

 In my opinion, all of this is very hypocritical the pressure put on these coaches to recruit top level talent is ridiculous. As I stated in a previous post everyone benefits from the player’s talent except the player. The reason the coaches need to get top talent is not solely based on winning, the better the talent the more money from shoe companies and television. The main reason they do not want kids going from high school to the NBA is that the NCAA revenue suffers when this happens.  

Just look at the salaries of the coaches and the athletic directors, these individuals are making millions each year and that is not counting the salaries of the coaching staff, trainers, and others. If I am a top tier player and deciding which college to attend the important factors of my decision would be the style of play, playing time, and best route to the NBA. If there are three schools who are equal in all categories the one who pays me would tip the scale.  These coaches have to do what is necessary to remain competitive, the better the team increase attendance to games, and alumni donations. The schools are aware of what is being done to recruit these players. 

Side note, look at the discussion surrounding Lamelo Ball’s eligibility because his father has released a shoe in his name and Lamelo receives income from the sale of the shoe. His eligibility is in question because what he is selling not because he is making money. If they were selling eyeglasses, for example, the NCAA would not care but because he is selling shoes and this will impact the money they receive from shoe companies it is an issue.  

 Instead of arresting and firing these coaches for doing the job they were asked to do how about the NCAA pay their athletes what they are worth. What is the government step in and say the school is only allowed to earn a specific amount of the athlete and the rest of the money goes into a fund the athlete receives after he or she leaves the school. I bet the NCAA would fight against this with all they have because forbid the people who deserve the money actually get the money.