Liberte, egalite, fraternite! Unless you're the NCAA.
Some chastised Kabongo for lying in the first place, others lamented his falling draft stock. But mostly, the message was plain and simple: "down with the NCAA." Concurred. Madame Defarge, knit away please.
Here's a sampling. I particularly recommend the Dauster and Grange pieces.
In the immortal words of Avon Barksdale, "Some things just stay the same, man. The game is the game."
And therein lies the problem. [...]
No, the issue here is that Kabongo was in a position where he needed to lie to the NCAA.
There are so many things wrong with the current structure of the NCAA. First and foremost, the fact that Kabongo is going to miss his sophomore season and damage, possibly irreparably, his standing as an NBA prospect over who footed the bill for an offseason workout and his association with an agent is ludicrous. Kabongo wants to get better, and to get better he needs to work out and train with the best. Those training sessions ain’t free. Jerry Powell, the New York-based trainer that worked out Kabongo on that fateful day in Cleveland, needs to make a living somehow.
Toronto's Myck Kabongo will reportedly become the first Canadian basketball player to be screwed over fully and completely by the arbitrary arbiters of what's good and fair and right in the world of big money college sports, where the only amateurs are the athletes.
The NCAA has a phone book's worth of rules to make sure that kids coming into the system meet their standards and a bank account filled with millions earned from showcasing the athletes they work hard to keep broke.
It's all in the name of preserving the charade that the best athletes in the world are happy to put off becoming professionals because they'd rather play for free in the name of taking some course toward a degree they are very unlikely to finish.
The most important thing to learn is that the relatively new NCAA rules regarding basketball players entering the NBA draft are constraining, narcissistic and, frankly, vicious. Oh, wait, we already knew that, too. We told you when the NCAA first moved its withdrawal date to May, and then to just days after the Final Four, that players would be damaged. Well, here you go. Kabongo is the most obvious example yet. An agent contacted pro teams to ask where Kabongo might go in the draft in the few short weeks before he had to make a decision. Not much since has gone right for him. Had he been able to enter the draft, work out for teams at their expense, attend the league’s combine workout -- which was the rule before ACC coaches grew weary of missing golf time and pushed for a change -- Kabongo could have learned the truth more or less on his own.
I've seen a couple of people write that we shouldn't really feel bad for Kabongo, because he's still going to get a complete scholarship to spend his time in Austin, Texas, which is a deal I'd take in a heartbeat. And that's partially true. This isn't a war crime, or something. But it's pretty clear that Kabongo's reported decision to fly to Cleveland for a workout with NBA agent Rich Paul, and his decision to mislead NCAA investigators, and the NCAA's decision to (as with Dez Bryant) show everyone exactly what happens when you mislead NCAA investigators ... all of that will almost certainly cost Kabongo money.
You must once again scratch your head following the NCAA’s timing in relation to their latest ruling against a notable college basketball star.
Maybe it was a just a coincidence, but you may remember the timing of their decision involving NCAA freshman Shabazz Muhammad, who was deemed eligible right before UCLA‘s big non-conference trip to New York City. The Bruins have their own problems and UCLA has certainly failed to live up to their over-hyped preseason predictions, but there is still plenty of time for Ben Howland to figure things out.
As for Texas sophomore Myck Kabongo, the timing once again comes at an interesting point.
Should Kabongo have been more careful? Sure. But to miss a full season for something that's not exactly egregious? C'mon. He lied. We all did it when we were in college -- at varying degrees. But he's a kid, not a middle-aged man like Pearl or Greenberg -- or former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
A 10-game penalty, which is what Kabongo has missed thus far, is plenty. Trust me, he has learned his lesson from all of this. Let the kid play college basketball. He didn't hurt anyone. And by the way, NCAA, if you don't want him hanging around with agents such as Paul, maybe you need to put some restrictions on the shoe companies running summer events. Maybe the NCAA, if it wants to try and put its arms around what has now become uncontrollable, needs to put forth some cash and run events in the summer. Go hire some of the finest ex-coaches in the country, guys like Bob Knight, Dave Odom, Lute Olson, Jim Calhoun, and have them teach and coach these kids in July.
I'll say it's got to be tough for Rick Barnes and his staff to comprehend this one. They played little-to-no part in Kabongo testing draft waters. This is about Kabongo and an agent and some workouts. Yet Barnes' team, after being strung along for nearly two months, just got lashed by the NCAA's non-tolerance for lying. Can't blame the NCAA for that. Can blame the NCAA for having ornate, dumb rules in about testing draft stock that inevitably made Kabongo feel he had to lie.
Few victories this season will be more bittersweet than Texas' 85-67 rout of No. 23 North Carolina on Wednesday night.
On the one hand, the Longhorns emerged from a season-long skid with a signature victory that proves they can succeed without standout point guard Myck Kabongo. On the other hand, they learned immediately following the game that they'll have to get accustomed to playing that way.