Monday, March 19, 2012

The NCAA's Long March Continues

I rather suppose that you guys have already seen that Jamar Samuels of Kansas State has been ruled ineligible for the Men's Basketball Tourney. Put this together with Fab Melo, John Calipari's statements, and Dave Zirin's crusade to call out the NCAA, and it's getting harder and harder to ignore the NCAA's issues this March, even as the Tourney is getting more and more exciting. Don't get me wrong, the games are still- and maybe ought to be- the biggest story, but the undercurrent here isn't going away.

From my perspective, the worst thing about the Samuels issue is that it flies in the face of our (admittedly romantic) notions of sports as a Grand Meritocracy, where what matters is your ability, not your background. If you can play, you can play (To steal from the NHL). But here, being poor seems to be becoming a major obstacle in playing, as the "impermissible benefit" in question may well have been a former coach sending Samuels $200 to help with groceries. Samuels may be being punished just for being too poor to afford his own food.

I of course say "may be" because, I dunno, maybe his old coach (Curtis Malone of the DC Assault) is lying. What he's saying hasn't been proven- but that's the problem here. Nothing's been proven. Hell, evidence hasn't even been presented. All we have is that Samuels has been accused of something, and that's enough to rip him out of the biggest games of his life (and humiliate him by having assholes like me speculate on his financial situation).

Anyway. The Men's Basketball Tourney is going to bring in something like $10 billion dollars this year. And Samuels is going to be on the outside looking in because he had trouble coming up with $200. The Grand Meritocracy is breaking down.

1 comment:

  1. I can't help but view this through the lens of what happened (or didn't) to Ryan Braun. I am totally going to toot my own horn, but the lack of due process in such summary judgment is exactly the kind of thing that Ryan Braun managed to avoid. Granted, his reputation is still marred (whether or not it should be is a different matter), but the league was forced to deal with him as an equal. Samuels hasn't been given that chance to be heard, to have his day in court.