Early this morning, Yahoo Sports released a story that implicated a host of former and current players across the nation of receiving potential impermissible benefits while still attending school. Of note from the Big Ten there were three players so far that were involved: Diamond Stone (MD), D.J. Newbill (Penn State), and Miles Bridges (MSU). It is not currently clear whether schools were directly involved as the screen shots provided by the article (click it to see) are a balance sheet of outstanding loans to players from sports agency ASM.
What does this mean for Michigan State going into the tournament?
This is potentially nuclear news for Michigan State’s tournament hopes this year as many view them as a final four contender that could string together a run through the tournament and make it to the championship. Miles Bridges is an integral part of that, a future lottery pick on the wing that can both drive it to the rim and knock down 3s. Will the NCAA move in advance of the tournament and bar teams from playing in it entirely if they’ve played the entire season with an ineligible player? I don’t think so but this is bombshell news that implicates at some level players formerly and currently playing for Top 25 teams. Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, USC, Arizona, Auburn, Alabama, the list goes on.
The wild card for Michigan State are also the meetings listed with ASM sports agents on the ledger with head coach, Tom Izzo. To date, most if not all Michigan State fans would have told you there was no way they were involved because they missed out on so many of these players that people thought of as shady recruitments. Now with Bridges involvement with an agency and Izzo having meetings with them, things look rather fishy.
What about Penn State and Maryland?
I’m going to go out and say it, there is a segment of the Maryland fan base that is somewhat elated about this. IF this is further found that the program was involved and Diamond Stone wasn’t just acting on his own accord, it will give Maryland a free out to the horrendous $12.5M owed to Turgeon still through 2023 and grant their wish of searching for a new head coach. That being said, as with Michigan State above, no one can tell if the program was actually involved or if this was players working on their own accord if an agent reached out to them and provided the benefits without their knowing. Maryland’s AD will no doubt investigate as far as they are able and will undoubtedly do what they need to with Turgeon if they find he knew about it.
Penn State will work in similar fashion. Newbill is playing professional ball overseas and, like Maryland in this case, there are no other implications that there was any wrongdoing by the teams (so far).
What does this mean for college basketball as a whole?
No one knows where this is going, and many people always knew this was happening to an extent, but the sheer volume at which this has spread throughout so many programs at all levels is eye opening. Players from blue blood programs such as Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas are all implicated but also at lower levels such as Seton Hall, South Carolina, and Xavier as well. The NCAA isn’t going to hand out the death penalty here because they risk destroying the sport as they know it by doing so but expect that some coaches will be fired or some HOF coaches will enter retirement in the wake of this.
As we discussed as a writing team as a whole, this is the tip of the iceberg. This is one agency, one ledger, one account of the level of payments occurring to players and parents of players that could head to the NBA. There are many other agencies that vie for these players to sign with them and you can bet that they are doing the same: bidding for these players to sign with them so they can rake in the cash. We know shoe companies are involved in the direct recruitment of players to schools and this appears to be the follow on of that with recruiting players to agencies by providing impermissible benefits while they are in school with the hopes of securing the player to their agency in their professional career.
Will Michigan State declare Miles Bridges ineligible for the remainder of the season?
This poll is closed