I was disappointed to hear Maryland had entered the big-stakes poker game otherwise known as “The Harrison Twins”.
So, I’m assuming, I was one of the few people in the area Thursday afternoon who were more-than-accepting of their decision to play their one season of college basketball at the University of Kentucky.
Would Maryland’s basketball team have improved with the addition of those two kids from Texas? Absolutely.
And would it had bothered me to know that our Terps — a longtime champion, albeit under Gary Williams, of not wading into the big-time recruiting cesspool — had finally given in and joined the ranks of the open and obvious rule-benders? Absolutely.
I want Maryland basketball to win.
But I don’t want them to turn into another college basketball laughingstock, a la the team that beat them to the two hotshot twins. I say “laughingstock” because anytime someone mentions Kentucky or John Calipari, it’s always followed with a “we know they do it” snicker or two.
Kentucky gets these kind of players because their coach and administration have no scruples when it comes to enrolling “student-athletes”. If you can dribble or run or shoot, you can go to Kentucky. Lexington is where the Harrison’s belong, frankly. They’re just deal-cutters, with the aid of their parents, and Kentucky offers a double major in finance and under-the-table wealth management.
I was surprised that Maryland entered the fray, because they’ve always bragged about “doing it right”. There always comes a time where you have moment or two to reflect on whether or not you’re making progress and still following the rules. Most of the time, Maryland has always said “yes, we are”. Tempting as it is to stray from the right path, Maryland’s athletic department has been remarkably “incident free” for most of the last decade. And that’s why, with their pursuit of the Harrison’s, it’s easy to assume that Maryland and Coach Turgeon have started to walk a different route. I guess that U/A logo can be quite the influence on everyone down at College Park.
Turgeon has known the Harrisons for years, dating back to his time at Texas A&M. Oh, and Under Armour also provides gear for Texas A&M. Everyone knows everyone in this drama.
I’m perfectly OK with Maryland going 20-12 this season and taking a young team into the second weekend of the NCAA tournament before they get run out of the gym by one of the powerhouses with a bigger payroll than the Houston Astros. If that’s as far as the Terps make it, that’s fine.
I would much rather see Mark Turgeon try and win by maintaining his integrity than I would to see him be successful and then have the compliance folks come calling four years from now once they’ve completed their investigation into how Maryland “won” the Harrison twins.
I seriously don’t want Maryland to win by cheating. I’d rather they just try hard, fairly, and come up short.
I get it that lots of folks out there don’t see it that way. I’m not writing this to make you buy my point. I’m making this point because I’m a big believer that college sports smells like a filled-to-the-brim diaper genie. It flat out stinks to see these kids get whored out by their parents and it smells to high heaven that somehow an apparel company is directly tied into nearly all of these high-profile recruiting efforts. No wonder those Under Armour golf shirts cost $55.00 at Dick’s or your local golf pro shop.
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