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August 17, 2011

“I paid $10K and all I got was 46 percent two-point shooting?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 11:15 am

If the allegation contained in the extensive Yahoo! investigation of the Miami football and basketball programs is correct and Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro, with then head coach Frank Haith‘s knowledge, really did front $10,000 in cash to DeQuan Jones when he was a recruit, the Canes were grievously overcharged. Jones was once a five-star recruit, but in a year that produced talents like Ed Davis, Kemba Walker, Tyreke Evans, and Tyler Zeller, the incoming freshman from greater Atlanta certainly wouldn’t have been picked out of any lineups as Most Likely to Attract Nefarious Booster Cash. Apparently the problem with nefarious boosters is they’re not very good at player evaluation.

Poor Jim Larranaga. For years he spurned overtures from majors. When he finally left George Mason and made the jump he went to Miami not knowing, apparently, a meteor was also headed there. Maybe the basketball program in Coral Gables can get through this without too much punishment from the NCAA — the alleged $10K was allegedly paid in cash and thus left no paper trail — but even with the charms of South Beach and a free-spending booster working in their favor the Hurricanes have struggled to produce a credible ACC hoops program. ACC wins are a zero-sum game, and in any given year North Carolina and Duke are very likely to be North Carolina and Duke. Basketball coaches at schools that landed in their league expressly because of football have the toughest gigs in major-conference hoops. If you see Larranaga (or Stan Heath or Patrick Chambers) give him a hug.

And, yes, poor Mike Alden. The Missouri athletic director will now go down in history as the man who hired Quin Snyder over Bill Self before making an even worse hire. Somewhere Harry Frazee is very happy Alden exists.

BONUS clarification! You too can mock Paul Dee coherently! The erstwhile Miami AD who also served a stint as chair of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions is quite rightly coming in for a good deal of abuse right now, but let us be clear on why abuse is called for. Dee was the athletic director at a school that allegedly broke more NCAA rules than any other school in history. Abuse away! But Mike DeCourcy‘s belief that Dee’s formulation of “strict liability” in the Derrick Rose-era Memphis case should have struck us as “odd” at the time strikes me as odd.

Just to refresh your memory, the Tigers’ 2007-08 season — the one that ended with an OT loss to Kansas in the national championship game — was vacated by the NCAA after the Educational Testing Service invalidated Rose’s SAT score. Memphis said they didn’t know there were concerns related to the validity of Rose’s score. The COI, citing “strict liability,” said knowledge didn’t matter; Memphis didn’t cheat, per se, they just had a player on the floor who was never really eligible to begin with. So to bring forward a coherent dissent from the COI’s decision in that case Mike or anyone else needs to address two points: 1) In one of the greatest insert-foot moments in member-institution history the lawyer representing Memphis told the COI they were absolutely “correct” in holding that Rose “was not eligible to participate”; and 2) Regardless of the validity of Rose’s test score the benefits provided by the program to his brother — benefits which, obviously, Memphis did indeed know about — rendered the star freshman ineligible in the NCAA’s eyes after the season’s first seven games.

Those “benefits” consisted of giving Rose’s brother a seat on the team plane during the Tigers’ trip to New York City to play in the 2007 Jimmy V Classic. For my part I find rules like these a bit picayune, but be that as it may that is what was on the books at the time. For the COI to wave a wand over Memphis and say 2007-08 never happened strikes me as just, whereas something more tangible like a postseason ban would have been far too drastic for what was in effect a bylaw nickel-dimer. Mock Dee for his AD deeds, not his COI words.

Twitter: @JohnGasaway. Contact: here.

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