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According to a Yahoo! report, Texas Longhorns point guard Myck Kabongo is under NCAA investigation for potentially accepting improper benefits.
Here is a more detailed follow-up from Sailor Ripley's post from last night.
According a Yahoo! report published last night, Texas Longhorns starting point guard Myck Kabongo is under NCAA investigation for potentially accepting improper benefits. This being a Pat Forde article (Adrian Wojnarowski also contributed), the highlight of the article isn't necessarily Kabongo, but instead ZOMG!@! LEBRON JAMES' AGENT!! Gotta get those website hits somehow.
For serious, Forde and Wojnarowski reported that the NCAA has launched an investigation to determine the relationship between Kabongo and Rich Paul, who currently represents LeBron James as well as Texas Exes Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph. Paul is not yet an accredited agent by the NBA, only submitting his application to the league office last month. Prior to that, Paul worked for four years at CAA, one of the top sports agencies in the country.
Sources describe the investigation as "wide-ranging," not exactly what a Texas fan wants to hear. At least one piece of the investigation is known. The NCAA is looking into whether Paul paid for travel and services for Kabongo when the Texas point guard traveled to Cleveland to work out with New York-based trainer Ronald Powell.
If someone working in the capacity of an agent paid for Kabongo's expenses, Kabongo would need to be ruled athletically ineligible by Texas. The Longhorns would then have to apply for "reinstatement," with Kabongo required to pay back all expenses and face a multi-game suspension dependent on the dollar amount. And even if no money was paid by Paul, if Kabongo received the workout for free, the NCAA could still rule improper benefits were given due to a "preferential treatment" clause.
Obviously, none of this is good news for Texas. In particular, the timing is a huge issue. 20-hour practice weeks start tomorrow, with the season right around the corner. In the interests of conservatism, Texas may well go ahead and sit Kabongo in order to ensure no games are played with any eligibility questions.
Texas basketball media relations official Scott McConnell said he was aware of the situation, but did not comment on Kabongo's current eligibility status. If Kabongo were to sit for any period of time, shooting guard Julien Lewis would likely get first crack starting at the 1, with freshmen backups Javan Felix and DeMarcus Holland also vying for more playing time.
While regulations are regulations, it remains ludicrous that these "student-athletes" have to jump through hoops and hollers to realize the ultimate level of success in their field--playing in the NBA. New NCAA rules regarding early entry have made it virtually impossible to get an informed decision about a players' NBA stock. And while I'm not advocating anything that risks eligibility, I'm also certain that most of these kids don't have the means to self-fund the steps necessary to achieve their dreams. So taking shots in the dark: it's the NCAA way!
If anything, the NCAA should feel fortunate that Kabongo was willing to come back and spend another year bettering his basketball skills while also furthering his education. Heaven forbid he wanted to get a better gauge of where he stood in the NBA Draft pecking order. It's not like other "regular" students rely on career centers, recruiting services, internships, networking, professional connections, mock interviews, resume writing assistance, or anything else that could conceivably help them succeed at the next level. So yes, the NCAA is obtuse at best, incompetent at worst. But you knew that already.