Will the chickens come to roost?
I do agree with Wetzel's dismay because there hasn't been one statement about the Duke case from the NCAA. However, I'm not as upset about this case as others, because Maggette was not enrolled at Duke at the time. Also, if the NCAA cracked on every player that accepts petty cash from AAU teams that hire High-School All-Americans to be hired guns for tournaments, you would be blown away at how many programs let alone NBA All-Stars would have media frenzies in their home stadium parking lots.
It's been a common practice with most AAU teams in the past that eams like the Atlanta Celtics still bring in players for weekend tournaments. The Riverside Hawks were a common user of this practice in the 90's. I followed that situation because Jerry Stackhouse played a couple of games with the Riverside Hawks before his freshman year, and as a Carolina fan, I cringed at that one. Regardless, it's a common occurrence, and I do believe a ruling was instituted from the NCAA that either prohibits this practice, or at least slows it down.
I believe the reason that Duke gets off on this case is because Maggette wasn't steered to go to Duke because of the payment. That's a difference between his case and the Camby case or Crudup situation. Camby was enrolled at UMass and Crudup was enrolled at Missouri when they received large sums of cash. Also, both Camby and Crudup received tens of thousands of dollars from agents during their time of enrollment, not petty cash like Maggette received.
However, I do have a question for Duke. After Maggette lied about whether he received cash under Piggie, shouldn't have Duke taken the initiative to penalize before the case was settled to make up for the lie? After all, Maggette admitted that he did take cash, which would make him ineligible. Is the case similar enough to the case of Webber and the Fab 5 years at the University of Michigan? If so, is a step needed in the form of removing the wins that occurred under Maggette's year from the record books until the case has been finalized?
Michigan really came down hard on their program because of the Ed Martin payments. Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Robert Traylor and I believe Maurice Taylor all received payments through their AAU programs from booster Ed Martin. U of M removed the banners from those years, and the school also removed the records. People thought it was a hard move, but you have to give the school credit. I've been watching the 1999 Duke/UCONN final on ESPN Classic, and I find myself thinking, should Duke do the same thing in their record books and with it's banner at Cameron?
I do find it peculiar that no one has taken a look at that period of time at Duke because Quin Snyder played a major role in Duke's recruiting that year. After a 'HBO Real Sports' report from CBS's James Brown this past month on Snyder's program at Missouri, I wouldn't say that the foudation of Missouri's program is based upon implementing solid principles for a college basketball program built with integrity. Now, there is a good question. Did Quin Snyder form his Missouri priniciples at Duke? Possibly.....
The reason why I do bring my glasses out is because of a past ESPN 'Outside the Lines' show that had a great feature, which questioned how Carlos Boozer was graduating in three years despite the fact that he was balling in Europe and away from classes the whole time. The report raised a few questions about the Duke program, but oddly nothing ever surfaced from it.
Looking at those questions, there may not be a lot of substance to bring things forward, but I do believe the NCAA could and should look into the relationship between Boozer and his AAU Coach Darren Matsubara at that time. Now that's a relationship I have always wondered about.
Matsubara was profiled in Wetzel's book, "Sole Influence". After reading it, I felt like I had read the "National Enquirer". It was a good book, but I remember putting it down, and thinking that I read a tabloid.
In the book, "Mats" was profiled extensively. He was a henchman/AAU Coach for Sonny Vaccaro when Vaccaro was at Adidas. His main coaching feat was guiding DeShaun Stevenson through his EBC AAU program to national prominence, and after the book was released, he became known for his role behind the scenes with Stevenson going to the NBA. Because of the Stevenson situation, many insiders felt that he was also behind the scenes swaying Boozer to take the same route while Boozer was at Duke.
During the time Boozer was at Duke, there were constant rumblings that "Mats" was hanging out with agents and Adidas people around tournaments and all-star games because he could land CBooz for them...After hearing the rumblings, I always thought that was a little shady.
Their roots were started because Boozer played for Matsubara's EBC AAU team. Boozer would regularly fly down from Alaska to Fresno and all over the country to play for EBC, which may be fine. However, my question is who picked up the tabs for Boozer to be regularly flown from Alaska to play for "Mats's" team in Fresno, of all places. Why did Boozer choose EBC, and another question for this case, is why did Boozer, who was a lock for UCLA, also hastily switch Duke during that year?
If someone had to answer those questions, the responses could bring some some stuttering answers in a conversation.
While looking at the Maggette case and my questions surrounding Boozer and the program at the time, I don't think I'm thinking like a a conspiracist. However, I do raise this question for those who wonder if there is something behind the lack of neglect in responding to these cases.
Is there a correlation between the neglect of the ruling and the fact that Coach K is the Foundation President of the National Association of Basketball Coaches?
I hate to answer it with another question, but here you go....Do you think the NCAA really wants to rule on an issue that would not only tarnish the Duke's image as the school that "does good", but would place a violation on the program of the NABC's President of the Board of Directors? If the NCAA did, could you imagine the tornado of negative columns, press, and investigative reports that the NCAA would have to handle on that one?
Here's another one for you grassy knoll believers....Sean McManus, VP of Sports Programming for CBS is a Duke alum, who is very close to the NCAA and the Duke Basketball program. I wonder if he and CBS would be upset if Duke, the "New York Yankees of College Basketball" was branded as a dirty program for a year or two?
As fans, we need to accept that most elite D-1 level players have an element of shadiness around them. College basketball recruiting is a necessary evil. It's a street hustle game, and I think that's why certain hard-core fans and alumni love following it.
Does the NCAA do enough about it? At times....but I do believe they only come around after a media expose from major violations have occurred, or blatant accusations or offenses are turned in to their headquarters.
However, I do believe the NCAA looks away from certain programs, and they make an example of others by placing penalites on programs to show that everyone is vulnerable. Funny, a similar situation right before Maggette happened at Carolina when got a taste of that practice. Vasco Emitnov was suspended during his Freshman year for playing with a European club team that paid expenses for him when he was a teen. Look it up, his situation is very similar to the Maggette case.....
Is the Maggette case worth it? Even though Maggette's case is a slight scratch on the door, the program is for the most part good. People should give Coach K credit. He worked hard to build his program, and he mostly did it mostly the right way.
Also, if you're going throw things at his program, it's tough for them to land. Early on, he played the politician game well by promoting the stories of his average Chicago Polish background, his Army education, his Coach Knight relationship and his "good guy, good program, good family media blitz." The PR effort worked very well. The media bought into it, and people love Duke as much as they love Ralph Lauren.
I've always liked that saying "Chickens come to roost", and after watching how society ripped MJ down with his infedelities and gambling practices, I truly believe that people love to rip exalted ones down from pedestals.
Maybe Duke's time is coming.....