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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Will Wade probably won’t return to LSU and that’s a problem

Will+Wade+probably+won%E2%80%99t+return+to+LSU+and+that%E2%80%99s+a+problem

As Louisiana State University (LSU) rolled to their first SEC Championship since 2009, there was a key figure missing on their side- line: Head Coach Will Wade.

Wade was suspended by the school due to his alleged involvement with a middleman over the recruitment of a player believed to be freshman guard Javonte Smart.

This surfaced due to an FBI wiretap that uncovered Wade discussing a “strong-ass offer” with Christian Dawkins, an aspiring agent. In the recording, Wade seemed agitated about a hold-up over how much money would go to the potential player’s family.

Wade shouldn’t coach at LSU again. Not because he has been found out by the FBI, not due to a moral standard that LSU has to live up to, but because he has been betrayed.

In a transcript where no actual dollar amount was mentioned, no specific player was named, and where the whole point was to help out a player’s family, LSU was all too happy to kick Wade to the curb. There was no sense of loyalty to the coach who transformed their program into a national powerhouse.

Wade is no choir boy, but neither is any NCAA coach. The reason Wade is able to make $15 million over six years is because none of the revenue coming into the pro- gram has to flow back to the players. It is in his best interest to have these talented players come into the program, no matter the cost. But here lies the problem.

Power 5 schools have allowed their coaches free reign to offer recruits benefits for years. What Wade took part in is nothing new. The problem is that the NCAA has let this under- world grow for decades, and now that the FBI is involved, they are forced to find some schmucks like Wade, University of Louisville’s Rick Pitino and University of Arizona’s Sean Miller to pin the wrap on.

When the FBI’s probe came to light in September 2017, they uncovered the heinous crime of college basketball players being paid by Adidas. The NCAA’s ugly truth was brought to the forefront of the American conscious. The country thought that this was the end of paying off top recruits.

The FBI shouldn’t be spending their time stopping college coaches from getting players their due. Right now the NCAA actively sets out to disrupt any chance a college athlete has of legally making money off of their sport.

However, the NCAA has done nothing since the release of the FBI probe. They let their coaches be outed by the FBI and have not acted in response. This only shows how complicit the NCAA was with these under- ground dealings.

The NCAA has been all too happy to reap the benefits of star recruits going to their blue blood programs, playing on national television, racking up viewership and advertising dollars in the process. “To their knowledge” it was all legitimate and they were able to keep some semblance of a moral high ground.

Those days are over. There is a growing need for major reform not only in college basketball, but in all major college sports.

Instead of these players being paid under the table by seedy agents, it’s time for the NCAA to set a system in place for these players to be paid their worth legally.

The NCAA has driven these star athletes to agents. Time after time they have refused to allow these young adults to take monetary advantage of their talents. Once they enter college, the NCAA only cares about how their talents will serve the NCAA, which should not be the case.

Players should be allowed to make money off of their likeness. They should be able to sign shoe deals, get agents and be rewarded for all of the money they make for their programs. The time is now to make a change.

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