The NCAA wanted O.J. Mayo to go to college, so off to college he went.
How did that work out for everyone?
|O.J. Mayo watches in the rear-view mirror at the controversy his stint at USC leaves. (US Presswire)|
The agency, BDA Sports, would have exposed itself to criminal charges. In California it's against the law for agents -- or their "runners" -- to give cash or gifts to a college athlete.
Mayo's records at USC would be expunged. His team's NCAA tournament berth would be vacated. College fans would lump his name with scumbags like Chris Webber, Marcus Camby and Jelani Gardner, who torpedoed Michigan, UMass and California.
Southern California would have to explain to the NCAA how, in the wake of the Reggie Bush football nightmare, the school shouldn't be found guilty of "lack of institutional control" for allowing its basketball program to be caught up in another Rodney Guillory scandal. (In 2000 the NCAA suspended USC basketball player Jeff Trepagnier for multiple games because of illicit gifts from Guillory.) USC would say it had no idea Rodney Guillory might still be a bad guy.
The NCAA would try not to laugh.
Actually, the NCAA might not be cynical enough to get the joke.
Because there's another O.J. Mayo out there, a whole flock of them actually, and the NCAA doesn't want less of these guys. The NCAA wants more.
NCAA president Myles Brand, who really does mean well, wants the NBA to lengthen its current rule that forces high school seniors to spend one year in college before they can apply for the NBA Draft. Brand wants the NBA to make it two years. He sees it as an extra year in the classroom for O.J. Mayo.
I see it as an extra year on the take for O.J. Mayo. And lots of players like him.
Let's be clear about this: O.J. Mayo, Rodney Guillory and BDA Sports are not the exception. They're not rogue players on an otherwise clean landscape. They're absolutely typical. If the NCAA asks me, and I mean this sincerely, I will give its investigators more examples of big-time players said to be tied to specific agents, and in some cases I'll give them the college coach said to have facilitated the introduction. The NCAA can investigate or not. It's up to the NCAA. But this stuff is real. Cheating is pervasive.
Here's where you, reading this story, want proof. If you have "more examples of big-time players tied to specific agents," prove it. Write that story, Doyel. We're waiting.