Brownell says recent scandals have stained college basketball
|Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 1:04 PM-|
SUNSET – The sport of basketball from AAU to college to sports agents – was hit with one of the biggest scandals in college athletics history last month when a wide-ranging cheating and money laundering investigation was announced by the FBI.
While the investigation and scandal will give the sport a black eye for a long time, Clemson head coach Brad Brownell told the media during his annual media day at The Reserve that it shouldn’t take away from the good that is being done by the majority of coaches in the business.
“There's no question that things that have happened in our sport have certainly stained it. I don't think it's as big of a surprise to some of the coaches that are in the business, but what's disappointing is that it takes away from a lot of the good things that a lot of us are doing in the business,” Brownell said Wednesday morning at The Reserve at Lake Keowee. “We're doing a lot of really good things for young people - providing great opportunities in terms of education, helping young people grow and learn how to be a man. Those are the things that sometimes are frustrating for us because it paints a broad brush over our sport when I don't think that's the case for a lot of people. A lot of people are doing a lot of really good things in this business and certainly, we think we're one.”
Brownell went on to say that there have been things in the past that have occurred that have kept Clemson from getting recruits high on the Tigers’ recruiting board.
“(There are some situations where) you know some things have happened and that's a reason why we haven't got some of them (recruits) to Clemson,” Brownell said. “You can work really hard and not bear the fruit of your work. That's frustrating when you lose in a way unethical. Having said that, you never want to compromise the principle of what you're trying to do.
“I would also say that what's frustrating about this scandal and what's going on with college basketball is there's a lot of good going on in this game as well. Increased graduation rates...At Clemson, we've had every guy but one graduate. Life experiences and life lessons that you're teaching young people, preparing them for life after basketball and the opportunities you're giving them with basketball maybe overseas that changes their life. There's a lot of good things happening that don't get reported. Sometimes these are the only things everybody wants to talk about when there's a lot of good happening. Those are things that can both be frustrating in different ways.”
Every fan base seems to be questioning if their program is somehow involved in the scandal, but Brownell said Clemson fans can rest easy because people close to the program and around the basketball world know how Clemson does business.
“To be frank, there's a lot of people around this business that understand how we do things. The people that really know, know when there are some things going on that shouldn't be going on,” he said. “You just hope as a college basketball coach that that's appreciated. The one good thing that can come out of this for some of us is that there's a greater appreciation by your fan base and a greater appreciation by your administration and by the families of the players you coach that we're working with guys that want to do things the right way. There are always two ways of looking at things. Certainly, I think there are a bunch of us in this profession that do a lot of things in a positive way and you're hopeful that that's recognized.”
As for cleaning up basketball as a whole, Brownell said it starts with the one-and-done rule that allows players to declare for the NBA draft after just one season in a college program.
“There's no question that there's been a lot of talk about what to do with the college basketball model. It's a difficult one,” he said. “The one easy answer is the one-and-done rule has created a lot of issues within our game. One or two players can really change the course of our program. If you get the right kind of kid and the right kind of players, so the pressure that comes with recruiting that and the pressure that comes with the salaries that people make in college athletics certainly forces guys to challenge your code of ethics. I guess that part of it will never go away.
“I don't know what the easy way is. I do think the one-and-done rule will change. It's not going to stop those people that will cut corners. But at the same time, I do think this is going to lead to significant change in our game. How much shoe companies are still involved - there are sometimes some AAU people that get a bad rap for a lot of the positive things. Even the shoe companies are doing positive things for a lot of the kids. Providing unbelievable opportunities and helping those kids get seen and helping kids get scholarships that maybe wouldn't get those kind of opportunities. There's no easy fix and it's certainly something the NABC will look at. I think it's something that the NCAA will get involved with as well.”