Big-Time College Basketball in the Cross Hairs

Andrew Zimbalist:

The FBI has been investigating a subterranean recruiting scandal in college basketball for the past two years. The most successful teams in the country are in the agency’s cross hairs, and Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, is shocked that there is gambling in his establishment.

Mr. Emmert says that if the claims of underground recruiting networks and impermissible benefits to athletes are true, he will initiate systemic change. The NCAA is, he says, wedded to the principle of amateurism. Say what?

More than any other organization, the NCAA has confused and obfuscated the meaning of amateurism. In its early years, the NCAA, which was founded in 1906, averred that amateurism in college sports meant athletes could get no remuneration or material benefit from playing.