The Harrison twins are better off at Kentucky, anyway

October 05, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Anytime I talk about college sports, I’m always quick to make sure I spread the wealth of blame.  I’ll do that once again, here.  EVERYONE involved has blood on their hands.  The kids, the parents, the schools, the coaches, the apparel companies.  They’re all deal creators of the highest order.  And even though they all know it’s wrong, they’re only operating off the standard that says “everyone else is doing it this way, so why wouldn’t I?”

What it is, essentially, is this: Beating.  The.  System.

That’s all it comes down to…”how can I beat the system and cut a nice deal for myself to play…beat the system and convince that kid to go to Maryland…beat the system and get that great point guard from Texas…beat the system and blah, blah, blah…”

Those three words are probably the three words plaguing our county more than any other three these days, so it’s not a surprise that college basektball is mired in an integrity slump.

My guess is 80% of the American adults alive today spend portion of their 24 hours trying to figure out a way to beat the system out of something.  Might be a welfare check or the unemployment counselor or the insurance adjuster or the jury…could be something as simple as betting on sports and collecting untaxed income.  Somehow, someway, I can guarantee that someone you know tried to beat the system today.  And they’ll try again tomorrow, too.

The “system” in college sports unfortunately allows for the kind of nefarious behavior that shoe and apparel companies have perfected.  At the big time schools, it starts and stops with the coaches.  They run the show.  And when adidas or Nike comes along and wants to be friends with the coach, he or she listens and ultimately shakes that hand because they know, as I wrote above, that if they don’t jump in bed with them, someone else in their conference will. And the coaches also know that apparel companies want to be aligned with a winner.  Quick, during the heyday of the Chicago Bulls, what apparel/shoe product did Michael Jordan endorse?  Right…it was Nike.  OK, what apparel/shoe product did the Milwaukee Bucks team do business with during “the Jordan years”?  I didn’t think you’d remember.  No one does.

Maryland and Under Armour were both probably used by the two Harrison kids to sweeten the pie with Kentucky.  That’s just a wild guess, but it certainly fits in with the way these budding teen-age superstars and their parents do business in 2012.  And before you fire off a “those two young Harrison’s are nice kids and they come from good stock” comment, might I remind you that they just signed on to go into business with the most well known underground magician in all of college sports, John Calipari.  They can’t be all that good…

So pencil Kentucky in for another national championship in a year or two.

Unless something odd happens, Coach Cal and his “supporters” in Lexington have, in fact, bought themselves another winner.  Nike will get what they want, naturally, which is a direct tie-in to the two Harrison boys and the birth of a relationship that they – Nike – hope will carry over for a few more years until they can put out a pair of sneakers for $325 with the Harrison’s “official logo” on them or something like that.

Calipari gets the players, again, and the University of Kentucky is a proud institution of higher learning AND great basketball.

The kids benefit because they get to choose their own path after having all of the options laid out in front of them.  It’s big business, what they’re involved in now, but they’re getting an early lesson in how to make the most money you can if for no other reason other than it’s out there to be made, righteous or not.

It all stinks, if you ask me.

The NCAA is the ring leader of it all, because they allow it to go on.  Of course, they’ll applaud those two boys for “making a great decision with the guidance of their parents and loved ones.”  They’ll give the scholarship offers their blessing and the two Harrisons will be on their way to Lexington.  And three years from now, a handful of NCAA compliance officers will fly to Kentucky to officially investigate UK’s role in the recruiting of those two kids.

The schools — you know, the people paying athletic coaches more than the university President — get to sell-out more football or basketball games.  They also get big sponsorship checks from the apparel company.  Everyone gets a back rub.  Everyone gets to be “part of the deal”.

Well, almost everyone.

The students who really want to go to college and study in an effort to make something of themselves have to pay cash for their tuition or borrow the money from the government.

They should have paid attention a little more in gym class when they were 10 years old.



7 Comments For This Post

  1. Dan Says:

    Well Said Drew, you are dead on, on this issue!
    PS: what are our chances in texas tonight?

  2. P Gavin Says:

    It all stinks to high heaven. We are all to blame because we watch the games and want our team to be the best. Fire this coach because he won’t step in the recruiting wars that have to be fought. It is so insidious and criminal. The other factor involved is these “children of basketball privilege” have no moral compass. Why should they? They have been special since they were 9 years old. So many of these kids doing criminal acts on campuses around the country. I wonder if the parents of “regular” students are informed when a kid with a criminal past is foisted on “prey”(upstanding university students).

  3. Jay Says:

    I’m glad that you used the words “assume” and “cheap shot” in this article. There certainly are only presumptions here, and no facts! Mark Turgeon deserves better. And for that matter, if you had done any research about the Harrision family, I believe you would have discovered that Mr. Harrision deserves better also.

    The Terps would not even have been in the conversation except for the integrity of Coach Turgeon, and the longstanding relationships that Mr. H has developed over MANY YEARS with both Mark Turgeon & Bino Ranson.

    Say what you will about Kentucky. Any slop that you throw against the wall will probably stick. To assume that the reason that Maryland is a factor in the Harrison twins’ recruiting is because they are now “wallowing in the sleaze” is irresponsible and patently unfair.

    Your readers deserve better!

  4. Stoner Says:

    This post reeks of racism. You know nothing about the Harrisons (two fine, well-spoken young men who’ve never been in trouble a day in their lives) yet you’re gonna lump them in w/these “criminals”? And you do know that the majority of those campus shooting sprees that have occurred over the years were done by “regular” students, right? Plenty of criminals on campuses around the country never touched a ball in any sport. (DF: LOL…”racism”…another excuse from people who don’t get it.)

  5. BmoreBobRob Says:

    Good article. What is interesting is that the KY alums and fans could are less if the school cheats to get players so in essence the marriage of Ky and Cal is perfect. Md bb could be at a cross roads as to whether or not to take advantage of their relationship with UA and if so, how much. As Ua’s brand grows, so does their power. In reality, this is why kids like the twins should be allowed to play in the NBA right now instead of having to go through the dog and pony show of being a student athlete.

    Maybe if Md would have offered them a free, life time You Pon membership the twins would be turtles and not cats.

  6. P Gavin Says:

    Shooting sprees are different animals. To lump the Va Tech nut case w/ what goes on at other schools by members of the FB and BB teams is just deflecting the issue. I am talking theft, vandalism, cheating on tests,sex crimes and other more serious crimes that are covered up by the Universities. If you want to white wash it, go ahead. It makes me laugh that racism is always used when calling out criminals. These big time schools and their athletic departments make me sick. And I played sports in College at a high level.

    It is a symptom of our society that these kids have no compass. I’ve coached for years and have scoffed at parents who are under the delusion that their little Johnny will get an athletic scholarship. Many have come to me and ask how his kid can get better. I tell them all the same thing. Read a book, study and pay attention in school. That is the majority of kids, some are truly gifted and NEVER get the advice that I give. Go to camp, get exposure and make an impression on the AAU teams or someone who can make a difference.

    Anyone who defends these football and Basketball factories is truly blind. Of course there are some good guys, dudes who trade in their skills for an education. But in the delusional world we live in, most think that they will “go pro”. I was close to a local D111 program. Those kids thought they got screwed by D1 programs and if they had a better look that their pro career was assured. Where did they learn this?? From the culture that we live in. WE are in the bread and circus point of our civilization.

  7. The Armchair QB Says:

    There’s lots of blame to go around in college sports today, but it’s hard to blame the youngsters, many of whom view these as opportunties to get out of ghettos/poverty and pursue the proverbial, “American Dream”! So, the blame must be divided evenly between the schools and the professional sports organizations, both of whom exploit these kids in the name of “sports” when, in reality, it’s all about the almighty……..BUCK!

Leave a Reply