August 17, 2005

2 UCONN Basketball Players Arrested For Theft : Nice way to get your college career started . Getting caught stealing laptop computers . I'll bet they will be back in time for the basketball season to begin though . I'd think the Universities would want to players with better character instead of bringing in punks and thugs . They must know sooner or later something bad would happen .

posted by evil empire to basketball at 07:39 AM - 47 comments

Unfortunately, it's the "punks and thugs" that usually have the most dazzling hoop skills. Schools bring them in and cross their fingers they don't do anything stupid.

posted by dyams at 07:55 AM on August 17

Even better than representing his university as an upstanding citizen, Williams was off in Argentina representing The United States in the Under 21 championships. Who says we don't put our best foot forward in international competition? Wonder if he got any steals while he was down there...sorry, couldn't resist.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 07:59 AM on August 17

Hey, now - I'm neither a punk nor a thug, but when I think of some of the unbelievably stupid things I did at university (I know, can you believe it - I went to university?) I'm glad no reporters were interested in me. Lets' try to cut the young men a little slack.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:23 AM on August 17

Anyone on a full scholarship , who just by applying themselves could move on to great things but decide instead to commit crimes are punks and thugs . They are given a free ride but thats not good enough . Now they have embarassed the university , their families and may have ruined their chance to make something of themselves . But then again pro sports are filled with punks and thugs , so maybe they do fit right in .

posted by evil empire at 08:41 AM on August 17

Unfortunately, it's the "punks and thugs" that usually have the most dazzling hoop skills. Like Diana Taurasi?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:46 AM on August 17

Unfortunately, it's the "punks and thugs" that usually have the most dazzling hoop skills. Usually? Really? On what basis are you making this generalization?

posted by Uncle Toby at 08:47 AM on August 17

and may have ruined their chance to make something of themselves Give me a break empire. Is it a stupid thing to get involved with? Yes. Does it embarass themselves, the university and the basketball program? Yes. Does it mean they're destined for a life crime? Hardly. UConn has a record of dealing with these kinds of situations as referenced in the article with Antonio Kellog last year. They may very well be expelled because it's involves university property, but there's no history (that I know of) for trouble surrounding these guys. Unlike Antonio Kellog who had multiple disciplinary actions against him prior to expulsion. My guess is they'll be suspended for several games and put on probation. Having said that, it's a national story and UConn doesn't need NCAA investigations with their current academic issues.

posted by YukonGold at 08:55 AM on August 17

Lets' try to cut the young men a little slack. This isn't a minor crime. Felony theft of $11,000 in computer equipment is likely to result in jail time, unless these guys get some kind of UConn hoops get-out-of-jail-free card. Slack is warranted for minor stuff. I don't think they deserve it here, if these charges prove true.

posted by rcade at 08:59 AM on August 17

yukon ... you didn't read my last line ...But then again pro sports are filled with punks and thugs , so maybe they do fit right in .

posted by evil empire at 09:00 AM on August 17

lbb, the women's program isn't without it's controversy The excellent Uconn basketball source Husky Blog has stories and commentary on both. Also, after reading over there I think Marcus Williams has a pre-Uconn history of trouble. AJ Price was the player who nearly died last winter from a brain abnormality. and empire, I did read the last line...it's as generalized as the rest of it. congrats.

posted by YukonGold at 09:02 AM on August 17

Maybe i'm wrong again but a felony crime seems worse than a ncaa violation .

posted by evil empire at 09:09 AM on August 17

rcade - they're not going to jail. We all know it. They're just a bunch of kids who thought they could get away with something that they clearly could not. Maybe I'm a little more disposed to not having a guy's life ruined over a few computers. Maybe I'm too lenient or forgiving to kids who trangress when they are just kids. But this is a ridiculous national story.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:18 AM on August 17

UConn hoops get-out-of-jail-free card Shouldn't the fact that they're UConn basketball players be taken out of this? I know, ideal world...it never works that way for Hollywood celebrities, but it seems that there should be two decisions here. One by the State of CT, the second by UConn administration. Do the two even have anything to do with one another? Plus, if they do get some kind of reduced charge will that be what everyone thinks, even if a non-basketball player would have received similar treatment.

posted by YukonGold at 09:24 AM on August 17

The "punks and thugs" and their dazzling hoops skills comment is obviously a gerneralization, but where do you think schools generally spend much of their time scouting players? Right smack-dab in the middle of the inner-cities where many of these kids have been exposed to crime, stealing, etc., sometimes as a means of survival, and often due to the upbringing they had and the actions of various family members. I work at a school that educates court-placed kids from inner cities. Many are there due to involvement with crimes, yet many of the males come in with extrordinary hoop skills. We have a basketball team, and you wouldn't believe the number of contacts we get from schools wanting these kids. I worked to get one kid with mind-blowing skills a spot at a division 1 school. The kid had worked to turn his life around, the staff at the college loved him, and they offered him a scholarship. Just before leaving he became involved in a cell phone robbery scheme. If you expect me to sit here and rattle off name after name, it's not going to happen. But I've been involved with this type of thing for going on 14 years. I assume you've noticed a trend where most of the big-time college players come from cities? Well, what these kids live with and are exposed to growing up doesn't just disappear from their lives just because you set them in a small area of Connecticut. And, as mentioned earlier, I, too, did some wild things in college, but thankfully none involved grand larceny. That's more than just a prank.

posted by dyams at 10:16 AM on August 17

dyams ... you should be commended for being part of the solution in helping inner city kids get a chance to make something out of themselves . Most of us sit here and complain about whats wrong in sports and the athletes who play them but you work with them to help them better themselves . Kudos to you and all others like you .

posted by evil empire at 10:52 AM on August 17

I don't think it's fair to say that schools/coaches hope they don't come in and mess it up. I think a good majority of programs try to do everything they can to help kids from those situations grow and mature. Plus, most teams have a decent cross-section of players. Not all talent stems from Brooklyn and Compton and St. Louis...there are a lot of kids coming from smaller towns. The four best players in UConn's history are from outside the limits of a major city. This is about a couple kids making a stupid decision and whether their first team all-american or just some kid down the hall, they'll have to face up to the punishment that's handed down.

posted by YukonGold at 11:34 AM on August 17

I take that back. Emeka Okafor is from Houston, TX...how did I skip him?

posted by YukonGold at 11:37 AM on August 17

Stupidly.

posted by yerfatma at 12:01 PM on August 17

Give college athletes a little money to live on and they'll probably be involved in less crime. Scholarship pays for tuition, books, room and board. These athletes need a little spending cash for clothes, etertainment, non-dorm or training table food, etc. Big-time athletes don't have time for jobs on the side. Give these kids $300 a month for miscellaneous expenditures. Maybe a few less would run to the pros straight out of high school. God knows they bring in a lot more money than that for the school. Not saying that $300/month would have changed this particular crime, but in general, I think it's a good idea.

posted by mayerkyl at 12:50 PM on August 17

I think athletes should get a small personal stipend because they don't have as much time for jobs (and they generate millions for their schools), but using the lack of one as an excuse for crime is horrendous.

posted by rcade at 01:10 PM on August 17

Sounds a lot like what happened at South Carolina.

posted by dbt302 at 01:59 PM on August 17

I think athletes should get a small personal stipend because they don't have as much time for jobs I think they should since they're not allowed to hold them lest they fall into the Mortal Sin of getting a no-show job from a booster. That kinda stuff is only for properly-trained adults working state jobs in Rhode Island.

posted by yerfatma at 02:11 PM on August 17

I don't see why athletes need bucks in their pocket when most college students don't have any. I remember the great lengths we would go to ration our food and nickles late in the semester. They have access to the same financial aid as the rest of the poor kids. And, those jobs that we had barely paid for the things that athletes are given for free (e.g. food, shoes).

posted by bperk at 02:47 PM on August 17

I think the point is a player from a top-tier Division 1 sports program helps generate millions of dollars for their respective universities. Average students pay tuition, but don't generate staggering revenues. I would never be against these top schools giving a reasonable stipend to an athlete for one of the major sports, but I agree with rcade where he said pay or no pay is no excuse for committing a major crime.

posted by dyams at 03:22 PM on August 17

Bperk: The average college student has 8-10 hours a day that are available for work after class. Scholarship athletes don't, because of the demands of their sport. Giving them a little money seems like a work-study program.

posted by rcade at 03:26 PM on August 17

Not only are the demands on their time different, but the NCAA has very strict rules regarding if and when athletes can work, who they can work for, etc. In most cases, student - athletes actually don't have the freedom to earn a little money on the side. Is it any wonder that when a booster dangles money in front of a 19-year old kid, he takes it?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:44 PM on August 17

dyams, I'm glad you're doing that kind of good work. I know a little bit about those kind of situations, as I've had similar jobs. My quarrel is with the notion that blue-chippers are usually punks and thugs. (As well as the reverse, which was actually the original statement: the punks and thugs are usually the blue-chippers.) I take "thug" to mean "criminal." Yes, lots of talented kids come from troubled or troubling backgrounds, and some of them behave badly even after they get to college. But are "dazzling hoops skills" really good predictors of antisocial behavior? Also, lots of athletes are on partial scholarship, especially if they're eligible for things like a Pell Grant. And those who are eligible for a PG are generally pretty poor, so supplying them with basketball shoes (a tool of their trade, btw) doesn't exactly free up a lot of funds. Money for other shoes tends to come out of the same funds tapped by the rest of us. For that matter, I've known plenty of athletes who wound up taking out student loans because their grants-in-aid didn't quite cover everything.

posted by Uncle Toby at 03:51 PM on August 17

In every industry and every environment there is good and bad. the punks and thugs mentality statement pertaining to professional or college athletics is unwarranted. It's so convenient to publicize the wrongdoings that occur but how often do we see the stories of the underprivleged kid who DOES make a change for the better, that never gets involved in trouble? not often enough, because that doesn't make for big headlines and discussions like these! I, too, work with kids both male and female, some that come from homes/families with situations you probably couldn't imagine, but certainly would put you on your knees thankful for what you do have. The "product of my environment" theory is a cop-out for the most part. If a person wants to make a change in their lives they can and will. But it is also very easy to sit in a Lay-Z-Boy and criticize or say what you would or wouldn't do given a situation you're not familiar with I also seem to recall that kids from good homes/families in the suburbs, with wealthy parents, that want for nothing, commit crimes as well!! As one reader pointed out elite athletes come from good areas as well, not just the inner cities. So although it was a stupid thing to do and by no means does it warrant just a slap on the wrist, step back and look at the big picture.

posted by gr8czrsgost at 03:59 PM on August 17

Calhoun suspends both players indefinitely Here's the quote from Calhoun: "In light of the pending charges against Marcus and A.J., I have suspended them from all basketball team-related activities," Calhoun said in a statement. "They are barred indefinitely from all team activities, and their academic and personal activities will be closely monitored on a daily basis by the members of our basketball staff. They will continue to have complete access to all of the academic support staff so they can focus their energies on their studies."

posted by YukonGold at 04:09 PM on August 17

If colleges ever started paying athletes , you know it wont be long before some kid isn't satisfied with the amount given . For one thing only 2 sports make money for the universities , football and basketball , so paying all athletes the same would seem unfair to some players . Womens sports only have 1 that make any money and thats only the upper tier basketball teams . So what rate do they pay each athlete ? Does a third string bench warmer make the same as an all american athlete ? I'd bet the all american wouldn't think so . How can the ncaa possibly monitor the colleges to make sure there's no cheating ? Isn't it the revenue made by the money making sports thats funding the others , such as volleyball , swimming , baseball , gymnastics , hockey and lacrosse ? If you used the money made from football and basketball to pay the players , the other sports will be shut down .

posted by evil empire at 04:10 PM on August 17

So you're saying since it would be difficult to distribute the payments equitably (according to you-- personally I think the market could do it fairly simply since the pro ranks don't have problems figuring it out), the schools should keep all of it?

posted by yerfatma at 05:16 PM on August 17

dyams, a little fact-checking: The "punks and thugs" and their dazzling hoops skills comment is obviously a gerneralization, but where do you think schools generally spend much of their time scouting players? Right smack-dab in the middle of the inner-cities Sounds like a myth to me. College coaches spend a lot of time sitting in the bleachers at Nike Camp and other similar events, or going to the high schools where they know the top players are, like Christ the King. They're not hanging on the playground fence in the Bronx. Kids who can't get it together enough to get through high school are not going to hack college. Every coach knows that, and isn't going to waste time and space and money on someone who'll be gone within a semester. I think the point is a player from a top-tier Division 1 sports program helps generate millions of dollars for their respective universities. 'nother myth. A small minority of teams at a small minority of sports are in the black. I don't know that any of them "generate millions of dollars".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:35 PM on August 17

It would be nice if they could pay them but it wouldn't be feasible . Some smaller schools couldn't afford it so where do they get their funds , raise tuition to pay athletes ? I'd assume every school would have to pay the same wage if under any kind of ncaa regulations . It was suggested earlier to give each athlete $300/month . Just football and basketball alone would cost the schools around $27,000 / month on average . That's close to $250,000 per school year just for 2 sports . Small schools could never afford that .

posted by evil empire at 05:47 PM on August 17

Doesn't it make sense that schools would shut down non money making sports if they were forced to pay the athletes ? It makes good business sense to me . If a product doesn't sell , you dump it ... if a sport didn't make money they would shut it down . Seeing how only football and basketball make any money (or at least enough to pay their players) then the other sports be eliminated .

posted by evil empire at 06:02 PM on August 17

Doesn't it make sense that schools would shut down non money making sports if they were forced to pay the athletes ? Not really, because they wouldn't pay them. If there's no demand (i.e., if you can't sell tickets to it/ show it on tv), there's no reason to pay for players. Instead, the profitable sports (and they'd still be profitable) would subsidize those other sports. Exactly the way it works now.

posted by yerfatma at 08:11 PM on August 17

Instead, the profitable sports (and they'd still be profitable) would subsidize those other sports. Exactly the way it works now. Are you quite sure that the so-called "profitable sports" are making so much profit that they're actually subsidizing anything?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:46 AM on August 18

Kids who can't get it together enough to get through high school are not going to hack college. Every coach knows that, and isn't going to waste time and space and money on someone who'll be gone within a semester. Absolutely many can't cut it. That's why many division 1 schools try their best to make deals with and "hide" (a tough thing to do) many talented players (many with questionable characters and pasts) in junior colleges throughout the country. When they go up in flames at one of those obscure locations, they often just fade into the sunset without any media coverage. Also, any college hoop recruiter who only goes to Nike Camps, etc. will never land the top recruits. That often takes years of following and contacts, not just with the players but with their families also. The camps are just one part of the picture.

posted by dyams at 06:54 AM on August 18

Are you quite sure that the so-called "profitable sports" are making so much profit that they're actually subsidizing anything? Gee, I'm not sure, let me check. March Madness is worth a couple billion dollars to the NCAA. I'm guessing not all of that money is being used to light cigars. I think college football sells a ticket here or there as well. We can pretend field hockey is a break-even proposition for a college or we can live in the real world. Either way's fine.

posted by yerfatma at 07:46 AM on August 18

Are you quite sure that the so-called "profitable sports" are making so much profit that they're actually subsidizing anything? Gee, I'm not sure, let me check. March Madness is worth a couple billion dollars to the NCAA. I'm guessing not all of that money is being used to light cigars. I think college football sells a ticket here or there as well. We can pretend field hockey is a break-even proposition for a college or we can live in the real world. Either way's fine. Way to duck the point and raise the red herring, yerfatma. How's about this one: we can pretend those "billions" are profits that go to the participating universities' athletic departments, or we can live in the real world. That suit?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:05 AM on August 18

The NCAA consists of who now? If money is being skimmed off the top and being put into administrators' pockets, oh well. If you're honestly suggesting college basketball and football are not profitable enterprises, can you share the multi-billion dollar costs they're operating under? When Notre Dame gets $7 million dollars just for coming it at 6-4 and making a bowl game, is that not covering the year's football expenses?

posted by yerfatma at 09:49 AM on August 18

Although this is 9 years old , here's a study by the ncaa about profits in college athletics . You seem to focus on money raked in but don't mention any expenses paid to run these sports ie. scholarships , travelling expenses , equipment costs , facilities , feeding the players . http://www.ncaa.org/releases/miscellaneous/1996/1996111901ms.htm

posted by evil empire at 09:50 AM on August 18

When Notre Dame gets $7 million dollars just for coming it at 6-4 and making a bowl game, is that not covering the year's football expenses? Not having access to Notre Dame's books, I really couldn't tell you that. However, revenue isn't profit, and as you can see from ee's link, profit really isn't profit either, where some of these programs are concerned. There are approximately 60 "profitable" football programs in the US, out of 1200 colleges and universities that have football teams. That being the case, how many "unprofitable sports" is football really subsidizing? I won't deny that it may be, in some form, subsidizing some; however, given the way the books are tweaked (see definition of "profit" in ee's link), I'm inclined to trust numbers rather than assertions that football and men's hoops are carrying everything else.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:59 AM on August 18

Well, it's also subsidizing unprofitable football at other DI schools. There's no question it's not an efficient market (but I don't think anyone would argue college sports should be). My contention is if sports were forced into an efficient market, major college football and basketball would be the only things you could expect to survive.

posted by yerfatma at 10:40 AM on August 18

My contention is if sports were forced into an efficient market, major college football and basketball would be the only things you could expect to survive. Agreed 100%. OTOH, if there were no non-major college football and basketball, that could affect the viability of major college football and basketball. I think that the big money has confused the issues of financing college sports considerably, and I'd still love to see the actual flow of dollars to and from a program like, say, OSU football.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:54 AM on August 18

The ridiculous money spent on salaries for some college coaches in football and basketball show that there's serious money involved. These two men's sports bring in the money directly and indirectly, due to their popularity with alumni. My alma mater, the University of North Texas, has raised a huge amount of money for a new football stadium and athletic center. I'll bet neither one could be justified simply by the revenue the programs have earned. A popular I-A football program, even in the Sun Belt Conference, has a way of separating boosters from their money.

posted by rcade at 11:16 AM on August 18

Remember, a fool and his money are some party.

posted by yerfatma at 11:36 AM on August 18

The 2002-03 NCAA report on this subject are available (pdf). They show that over 60% of Div-1 football programs and 70% of Div-1 basketball programs have revenues that exceed expenses.

posted by bperk at 12:17 PM on August 18

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