Show 1: April 2, 2000
Maine Central Institute is the focal point of the NCAA crackdown.
Announcer: Far from the frenzy of the Final Four,
where basketball power is measured by having the best recruits, a small
New England prep school is the focal point in an NCAA crackdown.
David Price, vice president, NCAA: Amateurism rules
essentially say that your student athletes or high school individuals
cannot receive pay based on their athletic reputation or skills.
Announcer: While some advocates for young players question the
need for an investigation.
Jameel Ghuari, executive director, Bray Center: When I think
about the issue that's going on here with the NCAA, it's really an issue
of attacking young African American males who are trying to find an
opportunity in a free society to use the gifts that God gave them.
Announcer: On Outside the Lines, what is happening up at Maine
Bob Ley, host: Good morning, and welcome to a program with a
familiar name and a new time when this program Outside the Lines expands
to Sunday mornings as well as continuing our monthly prime time hour-long
Outside the Lines format. Each week, we'll be delving into the major
sports news issue of the week with reporting and live interviews and with
the invitation for you to make us part of your regular Sunday morning
This morning, we are less than 12 hours removed from victories by
Michigan State and Florida. The Final Four has grown in a few short years
into a major moneymaking machine, a corporate picnic to rival the Super
Schools get there by recruiting the very best players. And the
feeder system for elite college players has exploded far beyond high
school basketball. That player pipeline now runs through AAU summer
league teams, sneaker companies, and prep schools.
This season, seven college players, all from universities in the
NCAA field of 64, were suspended for varying parts of the season, four of
them over the issue of who paid part of their tuition to attend prep
school. Three of the players suspended hailed from the very same prep
school, where there is an extraordinary concentration of basketball talent
and outside interest in who is helping these kids pay the bills.
Jeremy Schaap, ESPN correspondent: Eric Barkley,
DeMarr Johnson, Andre Williams. Before they played big-time college
basketball, they played here at Maine Central Institute. It's a small
school in a small town with a big reputation.
In just the last decade, Maine Central, under former coach Max
Good, sent nearly 100 players to Division I college basketball programs,
including current NBA players Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley, and Brad
Miller. Not bad for this Pittsfield, Maine, prep school with a student
body of only 500.
Douglas Cummings, Headmaster, Maine Central Institute: What
brings the kids here is the proven fact that we prepare the kids well.
The kids succeed at the collegiate level. That in turn brings more kids.
Schaap: Maine Central prepares students for college beginning
with an intensive series of SAT prep classes and including a closely
monitored academic regimen. Players at MCI improve their basketball
skills by competing against the best high school teams in the country.
Karl Henrikson, basketball coach, Maine Central Institute: They're very good, very good. And that's why they're here, because they have the athletic package, they have the basketball package, and we're here to give them the academic package.
Robert Parish III, student, Maine Central Institute: It's quiet
so no stuff to distract me from my work or from basketball. And I can
focus on what I need to do to play Division I basketball.
Schaap: Maine Central isn't cheap. It costs students who board
at the school nearly $23,000 a year. And while players often receive
significant financial aid based on need, there are no full scholarships.
Henrikson: One of the firm things that this school believes is
that if you're going to give somebody something, they're not going to
value it as much as if they're paying something out of their own pocket to
Schaap: That's where the problem lies. Someone has to pay the
tuition. This season, the NCAA suspended Barkley, Johnson, and Williams
for allowing what the NCAA says are inappropriate parties to pay part of
their prep school tuition.
Head of enforcement David Price cites the language on amateurism
BROADCAST OF SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2000
Anchor: Bob Ley
Guests: John Thompson, former Georgetown basketball coach
Max Good, UNLV assistant basketball coach
Gary Charles, AAU coach, Long Island Panthers
Featuring a tape piece by Jeremy Schaap
Coordinating producer: Jonathan Ebinger
Price: If an individual is receiving benefits because of his or
her athletics reputation or skill, then that is considered to be a
violation of amateurism code. The exceptions are primarily with schools
or relatives, but doesn't allow somebody who has no association with them
to do it.
Schaap: While attending Maine Central, Barkley and Johnson had
some of their tuition paid by Amateur Athletic Union, or AAU, sponsors.
Cummings: We always said we do not discriminate. Anybody
that wants to help a youngster here, we're willing to accept that.
Schaap (on camera): Anybody?
Cummings: Anybody. If you want to help a child, we're glad to
have you help.
Schaap: So their motive beyond just sending the kid to school and
getting some education is irrelevant?
Cummings: No. We need to know what their motive is. And if we
think we're putting the child in some jeopardy, that's a different story.
But what I'm saying is you can't just carte blanche say, "I'm sorry, we're
not going to let anybody pay for a child to go to prep school except mom
Schaap (voice-over): The winningest high school coach in history,
Morgan Wootten, of DeMatha High School in suburban Washington, D.C., says
schools should know where the money is coming from because those who are
paying it are often hoping to unduly influence young players.
Morgan Wootten, basketball coach, DeMatha High School: I would
care because you can't ensure how that obligation will develop. How would
anyone even know? And once you accept that handout, the young kid is
Schaap: Wootten says unscrupulous AAU coaches sometimes accept
money from college coaches or boosters to steer players to their programs.
Wootten: I hope that the NCAA will really go to work and pass
meaningful legislation to try and eliminate those few flesh peddlers that
are hanging around the game, and that they would do everything they could
to get their influence out of the game because it's bad for the game.
Schaap: But officials at MCI say the financial means by which an
athlete's tuition is paid are justified by social and academic ends.
Julie Treadwell, athletic director, Maine Central Institute: I
know of how many kids who come here that the situation that they're in,
whether it's their school situation, whether it's their community, whether
it's the parental situation they're in, is not good. And if anybody can
help them get out of that situation, I think that's the right thing to do.
Schaap (on-camera): How much has MCI helped you academically?
Caron Butler, committed to University of Connecticut: It helped
me a great deal because, you know, I'm a qualifier now. Before, I didn't
ever think I would get the chance to qualify. And it really helped.
Schaap: Butler could be the next player punished from MCI when he
enters college this fall. Five hundred dollars of his tuition his first
year at MCI was paid through a fund managed by this community center in
his hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. The center's director says it did
Ghuari: We're told that we can't give them $500, or we can't give
them $200, or we can't do whatever because now that no longer makes them
an amateur. But then when they go to the NCAA schools, they're getting
paid to play basketball.
These same kids would not be getting these same levels of
scholarship if they didn't have that ability. So is that professionalism?
Henrikson: I know the NCAA wants to have the best product
possible. And if this type of punitive measure occurs with these kids,
you may drive some of the better kids out of college basketball at an
Cummings: Like I said, I've been here 14 years. This phenomenon
was going on when I arrived. It was going on long before I arrived.
Nothing is different than it was. I'm not sure I understand why
today it's become an issue.
Schaap: NCAA and MCI officials are scheduled to meet soon to
determine once and for all who can and who cannot pay the bills.
For Outside the Lines, I'm Jeremy Schaap.
Ley: Next, we'll be joined live by John Thompson, an AAU coach,
and the former head coach at Maine Central Institute on Outside the Lines.
We are joined this morning by John Thompson, Georgetown's coach
emeritus. He was the head coach for 27 years. Now, among other things,
he's a radio talk show host in Washington, D.C.
Gary Charles, in his time as an AAU head coach, he has worked with
players such as Lamar Odom and Khalid el-Amin. And Max Good, for 10 years
the head coach at Maine Central Institute, now an assistant coach at
Max, let me begin with you. We've heard in the story the
admission by your own head of school. And coaches everywhere have said
this has been going on for years. Why do you think this is a point of
discussion and emphasis now, the outside payment of tuition?
Max Good, assistant coach, UNLV Runnin' Rebels: I don't really
know, Bob, because as Mr. Cummings said, it is kind of strange that all of
a sudden it's coming to bear because it has been going on for years. And
of course, I think the fact that it kind of came to the surface because of
Andre Williams' situation at Oklahoma State because the gentleman that
helped Andre also I think was close with JaRon and Kareem Rush.
And then, of course, from there, once they got into that
situation, Eric and DeMarr Johnson obviously being very high-profile
players, their situation came to light.
Ley: Well, your success here, Karl Hendrikson said, you know,
"Things like this could drive players out early." DeMarr Johnson leaving
now for the NBA as a freshman, Eric Barkley as a sophomore. Do you think
this investigation in this issue helped to make up their mind to leave
Good: I think it might have in Eric's case. In DeMarr's, I don't
think so. DeMarr it was probably -- if DeMarr had chosen to go last year
right out of MCI, he probably would have gone late first round, but he
didn't want to do that. And of course, having been at Cincinnati for a
year and having the kind of year he's had, I think it's moved him up
favorably in the draft.
But let's don't be fooled. Most of these youngsters, I would dare
say most high-profile players eventually want to play in the NCAA, I mean
to play in the NBA, I'm sorry. But it's just a matter of when.
Ley: Let's put up some numbers that really illustrate what kind
of a program Maine Central has had through the 1990s. You think of prep
schools, Oak Hill (Academy) has been the big name over the years. And over the
last 20 years, they've had a total of 83 players move right on to Division
I. In 10 years at Maine Central Institute, the last 10 years, in your
reign, 87 players have moved on.
John Thompson, let me ask you this question. What began the move
to prep schools? Was it Prop. 48 standardized testing that suddenly threw
these prep schools into the limelight as the place where great players
John Thompson, coach emeritus, Georgetown University basketball: Well, I don't really know what began it. But I think it's a question of
survival. When you're talking about in most instances a lot of young
people who don't have a way out of the circumstances they're in other than
through using their talent.
So if a kid needs some strengthening academically, it only stands
to reason that he find a place where he can go. But this stuff is not
new. All of the private institutions in this country who have real good
competitive situations have had kids that they have solicited or kids that
have encouraged them to take them, and somebody has paid their tuition. I
don't know why all of a sudden it's such an issue.
Ley: Is it part of a larger agenda, do you think?
Thompson: I don't know whether it's part of a larger agenda. But
we can't evaluate everything on a competitive basis even though we are
participating in competition.
These schools were used to integrate because of competition.
There's so many issues that we deal with with this, it just is ridiculous
to me to see why all of a sudden all this emphasis is placed on it.
I agree with Morgan Wootten, that you should find out where the
money comes from. But the fact that a young kid who has the ability to
play is being paid for -- his tuition is being paid for so that he can get
an education and also compete, that's the only reason the child was
accepted in society because of the fact that he had athletic skills.
Ley: Gary Charles, you work with so many kids in AAU ranks.
What's your estimate? We've had three prominent players from Maine
Central and four total this year suspended over the issue of tuition. If
everyone fessed up, non-family members, what's your guess of how many prep
school graduates would have this problem?
Gary Charles, head coach (1992), Long Island Panthers: I would
say that probably 60 to 70 percent of kids playing in college basketball
right now are probably ineligible if you're going to go based on what
they're saying right now. I agree with what John is saying. I mean,
what's going on? Why all of a sudden that this has become an issue?
You know, you sit there, you talk about AAU coaches trying to send
kids straight from high school to the pros, so you complain about that.
Now when you turn around and try to help some of these young men from
doing that by sending them to prep school, you still complain about that.
So what do you want us to do?
I mean, you can't be half pregnant. Either you are or you're not.
So make up your mind.
Ley: Let me ask you about the comment made by Morgan Wootten. He
talked about flesh peddlers, Gary, and AAU coaches, the question of image.
There is a head coach in Washington, DC, has a very successful team, has a
drug conviction in his background. There's a coach in Kansas City who is
currently under a federal grand jury investigation.
You in the past were mentioned in published reports in connection
with questions about SAT scores for Zendon Hamilton. Do AAU coaches
have an image problem?
Charles: Well, let me say this. AAU coaches are all part of
society. In society, you have bad elements in all part of it, meaning bad
cops, bad teachers, bad college coaches, and some bad AAU coaches and bad
high school coaches. But you can't sit there and paint a picture of
everyone being the same way.
In regard to Zendon Hamilton, are you aware that Zendon, none of
that stuff was ever proven? Zendon was cleared innocent of that
situation. But someone made light of that, and people forget the other
side. You make that one big, but all of a sudden when he was cleared, no
one even mentioned that.
Ley: Yes. Let me ask Max the connection between prep schools and
AAU head coaches. I mean, it's all the same society, isn't it, as far as
the basketball culture? It's something that Cedric Dempsey has talked a
great deal about.
Good: Well, probably so, Bob. But let me say this. The
youngsters who came to MCI selected us. That may sound arrogant on our
part to say that. But I didn't recruit any of these young people.
For the first couple of years, I did. And we had a great deal of
success both academically and athletically.
And consequently from that point on, players started searching us
out, the Eric Barkleys, the Andre Williams, the Mamadou N'diayes, the
DeMarr Johnsons, the Vernon Jennings, the Lenny Browns of the world. They
approached us because they wanted to come to our school because of the
great academic success that we had.
Ley: We're going to pick up on that point and also look ahead at
what's going on with proposed NCAA reforms. We'll be back with more from
John Thompson and Max Good and Gary Charles in just a moment here on
Outside the Lines.
Ley: And we continue with John Thompson, Max Good and Gary
Gentlemen, the NCAA is taking firm aim on what the president of
the organization Cedric Dempsey calls, and I mentioned it earlier, the
culture of summer basketball. Thursday in Indianapolis at the Final Four,
Dempsey outlined his planned reforms.
Cedric Dempsey, president, NCAA: We will propose that we
eliminate the summer evaluation period, and that we delay the
implementation of that legislation for a year, and that we spend a year
trying to rebuild a culture that is more beneficial to perspective student
athletes, and that we have the right people influencing student athletes
in their future direction.
Ley: John Thompson, the entire issue of summer recruiting and
summer evaluation, to many coaches, those are fighting words. The coaches
have said they don't want it. A lot of players, the player committee with
NABC, the coaches committee that's been formed with Shane Battier, the
Duke player, head of players, he says they don't want it. Are these
Thompson: Well, you know, I think it's going to cause a reaction.
But Bob, it's just like everything else that happens with the writers of
the rules, not the enforcers of the rules, that they focus on one point
and make a rule because of their point.
But by not permitting people to recruit during the summer, what
you are in fact doing is once the school year starts and the student gets
on campuses, removing the very men who are intended to teach them from the
campus. You also, because there are so many minority assistant coaches
who are labeled as recruiters only, now they're in a position where
they're going to be away from a teaching situation.
Once they apply for a job, somebody is going to say, "Were you on
that campus teaching, or were you out recruiting?" If a guy doesn't have
experience on the campus to learn from a Mike Krzyzewski, then he's not
going to be able to get a job.
But you can't focus all this stuff based on the fact that you
think somebody is illegally cheating somebody during the summer. I think
a lot of it -- a lot of rules are being made by people who have no
sensitivity to the whole sets of circumstances.
Ley: Max, where would kids who played for you at Maine Central be
as far as being evaluated? Your kids are atypical because they are
well-known and they're highly skilled, but kids about that skill level, if
they didn't have summer ball to be looked at, evaluated, and travel around
Good: Well, I think it would be very difficult, Bob. And I think
there's some cost containment issues here, too, because obviously under
one roof at some of these summer camps you have upwards of 200 players who
can be seen a two- or three-day period, whereas over a regular season
during the 40-day recruiting period, it would take virtually all of those
days to do that. And it would be much more timely and much more costly.
I know at MCI, over our September 9 through 26 period, over that
17-day period, we would have upwards of 200 coaches under our roof because
we would have anywhere from seven to 10 Division I prospects on any given
Ley: John, if you're a head coach in Division I, is it important
for a successful head coach to recruit well to know an AAU coach like Gary
Thompson: Well, it's extremely. I can't assume that Gary Charles
is a crook or somebody that's dishonest. I have a lot of people who I
have coached against in college that I didn't want to associate and didn't
want to coach against. So I think that this stereotype every AAU person,
or every high school person, or every college person as far as that's
concerned, is absolutely ridiculous.
I have a problem when they say, "We're going to look at the kinds
of people who are associating with these kids." Who's to judge who's
right and who's wrong, who's good and who's bad?
There are a lot of things about the NCAA, the coaches, and a lot
of people who are associated with them that need to be questioned as we
have found out with the report that came out in Michigan.
Ley: A gambling study that showed a number of NCAA men and women
athletic officials have gambled in their lifestyle.
But Gary, when you hear Ced Dempsey say "we need to have the right
people influencing student athletes in the future direction," what's your
reaction, Gary, to that?
Charles: Well, number one, AAU season basically starts at the end
of March. It goes from the end of March through the end of October. So
now you want to eliminate the summer basketball. Well, you're still going
to have the kids playing in April, May, June, August, September, October.
So what are you going to do about that?
See, the bottom line is this, that kids want competition. That's
just the bottom line.
How do you turn around and you tell Mike Miller who comes from
South Dakota that, "You know what, Mike? You can't go out there and
compete"? How do you tell that to Brett Nelson, who comes from West
Virginia, "You can't go out there and compete"?
How do you tell Tracy McGrady, who no one knew about until he
showed up at ABC Adidas camp? How do you tell him that, that you can't go
out there and compete? Don't sit here and penalize the kids.
Ley: Max, one of the also proposed reforms from the NCAA would be
the ability to let kids go pro, if they don't like it, come back, sit out
a year, and regain some of their eligibility. Working with so many
high-caliber high school athletes as you have for the last 10 years at
Maine Central, with that inducement on the table, how many of them would
be tempted to forego college totally if they knew they could come back and
eventually would just go pro immediately?
Good: Of course, that's totally speculative, Bob. But as I said
before, virtually all of these young people, and having worked so closely
with them for 10 years, I literally lived in the dorm with my players
during this 10-year period, believe me, all of them with any proficient
skill level at all, they're dreaming about the NBA.
And probably it would speed up the process. There probably would
be some that would go ill advised before their time.
Ley: On the topic of AAU coaches, Gary Charles, how much power do
AAU coaches have in this, as what Ced Dempsey calls the culture of
Charles: It's without a doubt that AAU coaches have power. But
understand something. AAU coaches start out with these kids at the age of
11, 12, 13.
So it's only natural that these kids are going to be loyal to some
of these guys and they're going to have some power. That's just natural.
Ley: John Thompson, earlier we heard Caron Butler's AAU head
coach in Racine raise the issue of the NCAA and African American
youngsters and that there was a lack of understanding on their part. Is
it fair to raise that issue, a lack of racial sensitivity on the part of
the NCAA of what a lot of these kids are coming from and what their needs
Thompson: Well, I think it's most definitely a lack of
sensitivity because, as I indicated at the top of the show, a lot of the
young people that you're talking about have used their athletic ability to
get out of the sets of circumstances that they're in because society
didn't accept them unless they had athletic ability.
A lot of these people who are preaching now didn't even accept
people of color, people of poverty, into their institutions unless they
had talent. So absolutely, these have got to be vehicles.
1958, they were paying tuition of kids to go to private schools,
whether they were prep schools or high schools, because of their athletic
talent. They were letting kids in schools where ordinary they wouldn't
let them in unless they had athletic ability.
So these things are very strange. We're talking about cultural
changes. Those are dangerous words to use because to some of us when you
start hearing cultural changes, they mean something a little different
than you intended to mean.
Ley: Well, we started with tuition, we came full circle.
Gentlemen, thank you very much. Max Good, John Thompson, and Gary
Charles, we appreciate your taking the time to be with us this morning on
Outside the Lines.
And we'll have more on this topic in just a moment as we continue
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And a reminder about our next edition of Outside the Lines prime
time. We'll examine the problem of hazing in sports from high school all
the way to the NFL, the NBA, and major league baseball. Rights and
wrongs, hazing in sports, Tuesday, April 11, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
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