There will be plenty more dimensions to the allegations against O.J. Mayo that he accepted $30,000 in cash in gifts from a promoter named Rodney Giullory, all revealed in an ESPN report on Outside the Lines yesterday, which featured a former member of Mayo’s circle who allegedly provided receipts confirming this, and accused the management agency of agent Bill Duffy of paying Guillory hundreds of thousands of dollars to land Mayo when the guard was still in high school. But for now, much of the story makes glaze over and sigh.
Yes, this is the second bad money-involved scandal with USC, still trying to eke through the Reggie Bush investigation, and Tim Floyd must feel like he wants to swallow a cyanide pill if the whole “lack of institutional control” is ever brought up by the NCAA. However, Mayo and Guillory were unlucky enough to have a member of the entourage turn on them. This goes on more often than you think: how many Sports Illustrated profiles do you read where a scholarship athlete at a big-time university has a decked-out off campus apartment, and that description comes mere paragraphs before or after one where the athlete being profiled grew up in very tough conditions? That kind of dissonance is prevalent, and such payments are probably just as prevalent. As usual, the allegations are exposed because someone either got caught or someone who used to be on the inside holds a grudge.
The voices of vitriol backing the so-called “purity” and honor of college athletics calling for sanctions against USC always seem to miss the point, although by the NCAA rules, there’s probably a way to get the athletic department for “lack of institutional control.” That point is: athletes like Mayo shouldn’t even have to be forced to go to college for a perfunctory year in the first place. Yes, the NBA’s age limit is good for college basketball, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good for the athletes. Either the NCAA is going to have to find ways to pay the players (any other type of scholarship recipient besides athletic has many more options of earning cahs on the side, and some of the NCAA’s massive profits need to go to those who earn them on the court and field), or both the NBA and NFL are going to have to establish viable minor leagues unaffiliated with academic institutions.
The fake outrage that arises whenever an athlete is accused of receiving cash while on an athletic scholarship grows more tiresome. They’re operating in the framework of a broken system in the first place.