The position of this blogger is that the FBI and Justice Department's current NCAA rule-enforcing witch hunt is stupid. Anyone who actually cares about colleges and boosters and coaches compensating players under the table is a narc, at best.
College basketball players generate gobs of money for tons of people, and they deserve a piece of that money, and a lot of reasonable people don't mind if they receive that compensation outside of the line of sight of an amoralistic cartel that probably shouldn't even exist.
And so, I'm not willing to sit here, for even a second, and say that any of the consequences of this Jeff Sessions Dog and Pony Show made it worth it.
If something WAS going to be worth it, it would be Rick Pitino all but getting fired.
Pitino sucks. It's what he does. He is the living breathing avatar of everything everyone hates about college coaches. A shitty dude in slicked back hair and a $5,000 suit screaming at teenagers and giving juiced up quotes to any reporter who sticks a mic in his face. He had a 15-second long sexual encounter in an empty Italian restaurant that resulted in extortion payments, and a trial. In 2015, a Louisville staffer paid for women to have sex with Pitino's players in their dorm. If you were building a wrestling heel based on a college basketball coach, he would BE Rick Pitino! Anyone else would just seem less skeezy and loathsome than the actual Rick Pitino.
And so, the news that he has was placed on administrative leave by Louisville—after which he will almost surely get canned—where he won the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball national title…well, I gotta say, it's a real silver lining on a storm cloud type situation.
The general accusation, it seems, is that two coaches within the Louisville program worked with Adidas to funnel $100,000 to a high school recruit to get then to come to Louisville, where he could be ground into dust by Pitino's madness, instead of going somewhere that might be, like, actually good for his professional development, like honorable, honest Kentucky.
Pitino, for his part, has denied any personnel involvement in this scandal. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney's Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville…"
Come on dude, we've seen your haircut, we've felt your pure malevolence pouring out of our televisions, we know you were in on this. It's not even the worst thing you did that week, probably.
Pitino, the highest paid coach in college basketball, is probably done with high level coaching. The NCAA doesn't want people like Pitino dragging the notion of amateurism (unpaid labor as a high moral calling) through the mud. And the NBA, well…
Pitino had one single good year in the league and he abandoned that Knicks team for an NCAA payday. Then, after he had some success, he came back to a fat Celtics payday where he acquired imperial coach/GM powers, executed a TRULY paranoid firing of an elderly Red Auerbach from a ceremonial position, traded Chauncey Billups during his rookie year in a win now move that didn't work, instituted an offense that sucked, lost and lost and lost, and berated the fan base and Boston itself after he got beat by Vince Carter at the buzzer.
He lacked the mental stuff to succeed as an NBA head coach. And so, he hid in college, scammed and screamed until they let him into the Hall of Fame, and will likely die on his sword. His removal was the best thing to come of this misguided investigation, and even now, we'll still have to listen to him, still have to see him, because he will probably talk on TV for money.
NCAA players deserve to get paid.
Basketball deserves better than people like Rick Pitino.