Lonzo Ball makes eye-opening claim about college basketball after FBI investigation stirs the pot
Amid the ongoing FBI investigation and scandal involving what the feds and the NCAA call inappropriate payments and what others call free market capitalism, Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has added his two cents.
“Everybody knows everybody’s getting paid. Might as well make it legal,” Ball said Friday via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
The former UCLA Bruin, however, insisted that he himself was not part of the pay-for-play atmosphere, due in no small part to knowing that he was going to be in the NBA within a year.
Lonzo Ball says he didn’t take money from agents while at UCLA. “My dad wasn’t big on that. We just focused on going there and getting out.”
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 23, 2018
“My dad wasn’t big on that,” Ball said.
Although, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports points out, Ball’s claims of innocence are unconvincing, especially when you consider everything we know about father LaVar’s limitless capacity for avarice; this is a guy whose ego isn’t satisfied until he’s squeezed a buck out of someone.
Simply put, Lonzo walked back after he stepped out a bridge too far.
He’s safely in the NBA now, of course, and his younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, aren’t going to be involved with the NCAA under any circumstances; that ship sailed when LaVar pulled them out of school and sent them off to play as pros in Lithuania.
But there are other reasons for him to backpedal.
“I can see why Ball wouldn’t want to admit getting extra benefits,” wrote Feldman. “He still knows people at UCLA, and an NCAA inquiry based on his comments could hurt them — and his reputation at UCLA.”
The NCAA operates as the high-and-mighty defender of amateurism, but Tim Kawakami of The Athletic made clear just what a farce that is:
The schools go to whatever conference makes them the most money. The conferences sign with whatever networks pay them the most money. The coaches go wherever pays them the most money. The players? MUST BE THE GLORY OF AMATEURISM!!!!
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 23, 2018
Everything in big-time NCAA sports is about money. More money. Maximizing revenue. Keeping the business going.
But the workers? They’re not workers, they’re “student athletes” committed to the amateur ideal.
Lonzo Ball has a point.
The NCAA can either pay these athletes, or it can watch its entire edifice come crashing down when, like the coyote overshooting the cliff in the cartoons, it is finally forced to look down and realize there’s nothing holding it up anymore.
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