It's Time To Stop Ignoring The Racism In College Basketball

charged 10 men in a scheme to funnel cash to players — 8 of them are Black. Four of them were assistant coaches to powerful (White) head coaches who, to date, still have a paycheck. We’ve known for some time that the talents of young Black men are exploited by institutions that willingly throw them overboard if necessary; now that Black men are being prosecuted, is it time for us to walk away? The four assistant coaches facing ongoing legal battles are part of a fraternity of men that do most of the heavy duty recruiting of high school prospects. They are the ones who make contact with high schoolers routinely, sell them on coming to the university and maintain the relationship with their families.   When the shady deals go down they are the ones at risk while their bosses maintain plausible deniability. But it makes no sense. Head coaches know that breaking the rules can ultimately cost them and yet we are to believe that these assistant coaches are simply rogue actors? We are to believe that head coaches are ignorant to the actions of employees that can bring down their program? Please, stop. In this entire scheme White institutions and coaches are clearly sacrificing Black assistants for profit while the head coaches are always landing on their feet. Rick Pitino was a legendary coach who’d won a national championship at two different universities. He also had a messy extramarital affair in which he had sex with a woman he met at a restaurant…at the restaurant. That led to Pitino writing a check, which covered an abortion. Pitino was also the head coach at Louisville when it was discovered that recruits were entertained with strippers and sex on their campus visits…in a dorm on campus. Pitino maintains he knew nothing about all of this. The fallman was former Louisville assistant Andre McGee, a Black man. McGee was the man passing stacks of $200-500 to recruits, spending thousands of dollars each weekend. McGee was a graduate assistant at the time and earned little more than a stipend but we are to believe that he was simply a rouge actor and his bosses knew nothing. When the FBI came for Louisville it was decided that Pitino had one too many violations and was eventually forced out of his job. He will still be paid millions, however. McGee and recruits to Louisville, like Brian Bowen, pay the price. One of the assistant coaches caught up in this FBI probe is Chuck Person, a former NBA player who was working under coach Bruce Pearl. Pearl himself has a checkered past (just start googling him) and when the FBI allegations came down it was reported that he would not fully cooperate with Auburn’s internal investigation into the matter. Two Auburn players were forced to sit out this season because of the allegations — young, Black men — and Person is out of a job and yet Pearl continues to coach. Like Person, Emanuel Richardson was an assistant coach who was ousted for allegedly taking dirty money. Richardson worked for Arizona coach Sean Miller, who up to this point was content to let Richardson take the fall. That is, until an FBI wiretap caught Miller discussing a $100,000 bribe to snag a recruit. Miller has not been fired to date and even if he is, he’ll still make millions¬†as Richardson may face time behind bars. Poor Sean. We knew that Black players were being exploited all along but maybe we tolerated it because we love March Madness. Maybe we thought it was slightly unjust but ultimately harmless because the kids got a chance to earn a college degree and perhaps make millions later, in the NBA. Maybe it was tolerable then but not now. Teenage Black boys and their families who live in poverty are taking the fall for recruiting violations when they accept cash offered to them. Black coaches and shoe company employees are being used as glorified corner boys in a game that ensures schools and head coaches land softly while they are subject to jail time. This is not okay and we must choose to walk away from it.  ]]>

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