College basketball is in trouble.
First things first,
Rick Pitino needs to resign.
Look, all of the faux shock and indignation has worn thin. He was in charge of this program during the lurid hooker for recruits scandal and is now in charge of a program that has been shown by the FBI to have bought a recruit. The thing is, this is not the first recruit that has been bought, and it won't be the last. But he presided over this program during the two worst scandals since - well - maybe ever.
Do I think that, by itself, Louisville is the most egregious offender of any set of NCAA ethics? No. Penn State was by far the worst sex scandal (though Baylor may surpass that when all is said and done). SMU was by far the worst pay-for-play scandal. But Louisville has both within a very short time frame.
Even if Pitino resigns in disgrace, the basketball program may still find itself on the wrong end of an NCAA death penalty.
It's Not CLOSE to over
This was just the first leg of the scandal. Now that ten people have been charged with serious felonies, the pressure will be on. The FBI does not really care that much about Chuck Person; or Tony Bland; or any of the original ten who were arrested.
Think this is just an Adidas issue? Jim Gatto, the Adidas executive who was arrested, used to work for Nike. Not fifteen or twenty years ago - but three years ago. This is going to get very, very ugly and the FBI will not stop until the find something bigger than a few people making bribes. Will the NCAA work with them to limit the damage to their brand? Maybe.
NBA Draft Rules
I have been a proponent for at least the last three years that the NBA needs to remodel their draft procedures. I find them complicit in this scandal. The creation of the 'one-and-done' player was a mistake that created this huge opportunity. After all, who is really going to get too deep into investigating a player who is on a college campus for a max of four months?
The NBA created this mess when they tried to get a free year of development out of colleges and now they need to help fix it.
Major League Baseball has the best procedures around. Any player can be drafted out of high school. He can decide whether the bonus money and contract are enough to persuade him to go straight to professional baseball or take a shot at improving his stock - and contract dollars - by going to college first. but when he does, it is three years before he can be drafted again.
Some of these young men simply do not belong in college - it is okay to admit that they should be going straight to professional basketball. Maybe the excitement of the NCAA game would take a dip as the athletes that went to college on a basketball scholarship would not be the 'cream of the crop.' But there would be far better player development, far better team development and a far more competitive environment around college basketball as teams could not simply create 'super teams' full of one-and-done five-star prospects.
It would be a win-win, so I imagine that the NCAA will not consider it at all.