Sparky's Debates: College basketball catches fire

An attempt to encourage thoughtful conversation on different opinions

This series features curated State Press columns with different points of view surrounding a similar topic. Its purpose is to promote healthy debate about alternative ways to think about certain discussions. Every voice matters and contributes to a more diverse and representative dialogue.

We hope not only to highlight the grey area of potentially polarizing topics, but to also encourage respectful recognition and conversation of varied perspectives whether you agree, disagree, are indifferent or unsure. The selected columns are intended to get you listening, thinking and talking. 

In this segment, we feature two columns regarding recent NCAA scandal where the columnists offer their separate thoughts on the problem's potential causes and solutions. 

For context, over the past few months the NCAA has faced misbehavior from a number of collegiate teams. Perhaps the most popular topic has been a FBI investigation into college basketball programs for corruption after Yahoo! Sports published FBI documents in February naming teams and players potentially involved in illegal NCAA practices. 

Among over 20 Division I programs and 25 athletes on the list, UA specifically stirred up attention when ESPN reported that head coach Sean Miller was caught on wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to star freshman Deandre Ayton. However, Miller remains in his position with the Wildcats after denying the allegations.

This most recent example adds to other instances of misconduct in collegiate athletics such as academic dishonesty, shoplifting and abuse allegations.

So, who is to blame for NCAA misbehavior? The players? The coaches? The NCAA itself? And what will happen next?

Here's what our columnists thought.

Holding a student-athlete accountable starts with the coach

Joey Coalter

"We need to hold our athletes to a higher standard." Illustration published on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.


In this column, Kelly Doyle discusses a need for players and coaches to hold themselves to a high standard of conduct as representatives for their universities. However, Doyle also emphasizes that as leaders, coaches should be setting a good example for the athletes, many of whom are still teenagers.

"Ultimately, players will always look up to their coaches. In asking these young athletes to hold themselves to a high standard, it is imperative that they see their coaches doing the same." 

The FBI investigation of college basketball may stop rampant corruption

Madison Pennisi

“Accusations of payments to players are coming to light in college basketball.” Illustration published on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. 


In this piece, Koki Riley examines the ramifications of the NCAA scandal on college basketball, also looking at how prominent Pac-12 teams have been implicated in the investigation. Riley emphasizes the long-running issues in college basketball related to recruiting and financial impropriety, linking it to a potential lack of endorsement deals allowed for NCAA players. 

"With the FBI revealing this mass amount of corruption in college basketball, it certainly raises the question as to whether or not this investigation will actually stop the under-the-table payments of players for good."


Reach the columnists at Marinodavidjr@gmail.com and acwolfe4@asu.edu  or follow @Marinodavidjr and @alexandrawolfe_ on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this opinion blog are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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