Michael Beasley was a highly recruited high school basketball player out of Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., who went on to play his college ball at the Kansas State then eventually became the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.
He’s been the focus of recruiting battles, not unlike the ones that have taken down Rick Pitino at Louisville and led to former NBA Rookie of the Year Chuck Person being arrested.
Is this a massive scandal or just business as usual in college sports? Beasley told reporters more of the latter. He told the USA Today that reporters and prosecutors are just starting to catch on — and said college players should get paid.
“Man, you guys are just catching on. And that’s all I gotta say….
“My jerseys. They sell my jerseys. Not just me but what about Kentucky and Anthony Davis. USC and O.J. Mayo. Western Kentucky and Courtney Lee. We bring a lot to these schools and we can’t even park in front of the arenas for games. They still make us, as freshmen, park two parking lots away from the dorm rooms in the freezing cold. So do I think that guys need to be compensated for their work? Yes. Because most of us don’t make it to this level. A lot of us don’t make it to the professional level, let alone the NBA. So I do think guys should be getting paid. The NCAA is making billions: not just off basketball but off football and soccer – by the way, golf players get paid. Tennis players get paid. There are athletes getting paid at the college level. We’re just not one of them.”
For the record, Beasley said he did not get paid to go to K-State.
Also, for the record, pretty much every sports fan knows this goes on as common practice, we just turn a blind eye.
College basketball is a massive business built on a model of free labor, Beasley is right about that. Schools and the NCAA, make big money — and that’s not to mention universities luring donors to the university and stoking alumni — and while the players do get a free education (those that take advantage of it), that cost is a fraction of what the teams bring in. The NCAA’s efforts at amateurism create a black market that has shoe companies funneling money to players and coaches to get a recruit to Louisville (or has Louisville assistant coaches hiring strippers to “entertain” guys on recruiting visits). Don’t make the mistake of just singling out Louisville or Adidas schools, this is widespread. And it goes on in college football, too.
That said, I’d be shocked if we see players get paid in our lifetime. There would be too much pushback from the universities, not to mention people whose minds are stuck in the 1950s. Plus, there are a lot of questions that go with it — college softball players put in long hours and travel for their sport and to represent the university, should they be compensated as well? If so, how much? And we can go on down the line of college sports.