There are a lot of “out there” things that can be attributed to Michael Beasley, who is one of the more colorful personalities in the National Basketball Association. But his thoughts on what’s going on with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s bribery probe of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dealings cannot be deemed as far-fetched notions.
The New York Knicks’ small forward held court following Wednesday’s training camp practice and gave some poignant thoughts on what’s been going down with this national scandal that has already claimed the job of legendary University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino – and likely the school’s athletic director Tom Jurich.
The FBI’s bribery investigation that broke on Tuesday has rocked college basketball. And Beasley, who signed with the Knicks this offseason, was asked his thoughts on the mess.
“Man, you guys are just catching on? That’s all I gotta say about that,” was Beasley’s initial response when asked about the widespread misdeeds of some of college basketball’s big-time programs.
But when further prodded, Beasley recounted his days as a financially-strapped student-athlete who helped build the NCAA into the billion-dollar empire it is today.
“I went to a small school in Manhattan, Kansas that nobody heard of in 25 years,” Beasley said. “That the city of Manhattan has now multiplied by five, six — should I be compensated?”
That proclamation was likely hyperbole, considering Beasley decided to go to K-State without ever visiting the campus — and once admitted he couldn’t find Kansas on a map. But that shouldn’t muddle up his message. Beasley, who played at K-State in 2007-08, wasn’t too far off with his other sentiments.
When he was asked to clarify whether he was saying that Manhattan’s population has increased because of him, the peculiar Beasley dropped some knowledge on the subject of a student-athlete’s plight.
“They sell my jerseys. Not just me, but [University of] Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, USC’s [University of Southern California] O.J. Mayo, [and] Western Kentucky’s and [Knicks’ teammate] Courtney Lee. We bring a lot to these schools and we can’t even park in front of the arenas in games. They still made us, as freshman, park two parking lots away from the dorm rooms in the freezing cold,” Beasley recalled. “So do I think most of the players should be compensated? Yes, because most of us don’t make it this level. A lot of us don’t make it to the professional level, let alone the NBA. So I do think guys should be getting paid. The NCAA is making billions.”
“But not just off basketball, but off football and soccer,” Beasley said. “And by the way, golf players get paid, [and] tennis players get paid. So, there are athletes getting paid at the college level. We’re just not one of them.”
When asked if bringing all of this to light will make it better or worse for big-time college athletics, Beasley paused, then smirked before giving his take.
“I don’t know. I don’t care. I play in the NBA,” he acknowledged. “If it is gonna bring it to light, I got an audit to do.”
The sweeping investigation into the seedy world of NCAA basketball alleges that college programs have paid high school players to attend certain universities. Beasley was also quick to point out that nothing like that ever happened with him while at K-State under then-coach Frank Martin, who is now at the University of South Carolina.
“I didn’t get paid to go to Kansas State. We did it the right way,” Beasley said, adding reasons why that was the case. “Frank is a morally humble guy, confident in his ways of basketball and recruiting. And him throwing a dollar out — listen, he’s cheap.”
That was the line of the day, and got mass chuckles from the New York media throng. But one thing that won’t be so funny is the amount of programs which will be affected by this investigation. There are plenty of skins to be pinned to the wall – primarily big-name coaches. But according to Beasley, it’s too bad a lot of kids will be affected as well.