Poor college athletes these days. All the NCAA is trying to do is screw them and their families from making a living using their athletic talents. That’s what I hear often and many times it is true. The NCAA itself is one of the most hypocritical organizations on the face of the earth. One thing alone can justify that. It is a multi-billion dollar corporation that is listed as a non-profit. And while they make mistakes all the time, the situation with the Texas Longhorns Myck Kabongo is certainly not one of them.
If you were living on another planet until this week, Kabongo has been suspended for the rest of the season after lying to the NCAA over some impermissible benefits he received earlier this year as he contemplated entering the NBA draft. He’s appealing the ban but I doubt it gets overturned. The NCAA is using Kabongo as an example just like they did Dez Bryant. You lie to us, we’ll make you pay.
And that’s the thing, “the crime” wasn’t even that bad. It sounds like someone paid for his travel expenses as he went to work out in Cleveland with a New York based trainer. That’s probably a couple of hundred bucks and not the end of the world. However, he should have just come clean then. If he did he probably would have gotten a 10 game suspension, which he already served this season, and would have had to pay the money back. End of story… but he didn’t. He decided to cover up the truth.
We need to stop treating college athletes like they are 5 or 6 year old children. Kabongo is a 20 year old MAN. He knows the difference between right and wrong (truth and fiction) and that as soon as he got into discussions with an NBA agent (Rich Paul, LeBron James agent) he was dipping into murky water. It’s even more bizarre considering he could have contacted his coach Rick Barnes and asked for his advice. Barnes has had good success at getting his players into the NBA and a couple of phone calls from him to colleagues in scouting departments across the league could have given Kabongo all the information he needs. Heck, he could have had someone come to him for a workout.
When you deal on the edge of the NCAA’s rules, you’re bound to get burnt and I don’t mean the burnt orange of the Texas jerseys. Kabongo knew what could happen if he got in contact with this agent especially considering two former Longhorns are represented by him! His friends Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph! How is that not a red flag? They are paid professionals that left their amateur status behind. Talk about biting into the forbidden fruit.
Nothing comes for free in the agent-player game. There was always going to be a quid pro quo. Kabongo was expected to deliver for them and when he didn’t it came back to bite him.
This isn’t even about Kabongo’s future at the next level which I don’t think is great.
This isn’t about the NCAA’s crazy “contact” rules which I’d like to change.
This is about abiding to the rules on the books. You know you can’t lie to the NCAA. Hell, a 12 year old fan knows that.
To give him a pass because he is a “kid” is incredibly naive. Especially when he’s already playing in a man’s world.
Like my article? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter (@tmichaelcronin). I look forward to your thoughts.