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Congratulations, NCAA. You played yourself. (Again.)


Photo: Fox Sports

Photo: Fox Sports

Yesterday was quite the day, huh?

We started out with Michigan’s massive upset over Louisville, “escorting” the Cardinals out of the Tournament in the Round of 32. Kentucky followed it up with a nail biter against Wichita State to move onto the Sweet 16, and the world rejoiced on Sunday night when the Crying Luke Kennard’s of Duke University fell to the almighty SEC. If it weren’t for a few questionable late calls and Mike Anderson crumbling under pressure, Arkansas would have taken down North Carolina to eliminate all ACC teams.

March Madness was unbelievable yesterday, but the big story came from the stands in Kentucky’s matchup against the Shockers.

Gregg Marshall’s wife, Lynn, was unbelievably intoxicated during the game, flailing around in the stands and cursing at players and coaches. She made a fool of herself, and let it known for the world to see. According to WTVQ’s Kennedy Hardman, Lynn Marshall’s daughter apologized for her mother after the game and said “she’s just drunk.”

Mrs. Marshall was approached by security multiple times throughout the game, and was eventually asked to leave immediately following the game. Reports say security told those in attendance, “We have to be delicate because it’s the coach’s wife,” explaining why she was not kicked out long before things got crazy.

As we all know, Drew Franklin didn’t leave the scene without footage, and the NCAA was not too happy about it.

Drew was asked to leave the arena unless he deleted the video with the NCAA looking over his shoulders. It was temporarily taken down, but after realizing he did absolutely nothing wrong, the video was put back up on the site.

The NCAA’s argument is that everything recorded inside the arena is owned by CBS Sports during the Tournament, though we all know that’s hogwash. Their goal was to stop the fire from spreading, but instead, just brought attention to themselves and made the situation worse. This morning, this story was published on Mike and Mike, Good Morning America, Yahoo!, and other national outlets. Inside Edition even picked up the story for tonight.

To make matters worse, NCAA media relations director David Worlock came out and accused Drew of lying, saying no one from the NCAA contacted him about deleting the video. Worlock said if someone asked Drew to take the video down, it was a staff member for the Indiana Pacers, not anyone from his team. Yeah, because the freaking Indiana Pacers care about recording someone in the stands during a college basketball game and the “intellectual property of CBS,” right? Sure.

Matt Jones came out firing this morning, calling out Worlock for blatantly lying to the media, saying he was called personally by the media relations director to take the video down.

While this story is spreading at a ridiculous rate and Drew’s phone is ringing off the hook for interview requests, the NCAA has been the center of criticism. Not only are there several unanswered scandals in their back pocket, but the selection committee’s atrocious mis-seedings and in-game officiating has been brought to light as of late, and this story just might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Strippers and Fake Classes

Right now, Louisville still has yet to receive punishment by the NCAA for the Katina Powell scandal. UofL used underaged prostitutes to recruit players to attend their school, many of which played for the 2013 National Championship team. How is this even in question right now? Recruiting (and signing) players with the help of impermissible benefits equals ineligible players. Ineligible players equals vacated games/season and the banner coming down. THERE SHOULD BE NO GREY AREA WITH THIS. They were given their notice of allegations in October and followed up with their own response in January. Like we have all been doing since October of 2015 when the allegations were released, we must wait. It’s all a formality, but what statement does yesterday’s events make to the public? The NCAA will attempt to grab a reporter out of his chair in the media room immediately following a basketball game over a video, but UofL’s stripper allegations released two years ago and zero punishment has been handed down by the NCAA?

Take a look down the road in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where over two decades of academic fraud have yet to be punished by the NCAA. Several former UNC “student”-athletes have come out and said they never attended classes and that their selected major was fraudulent. There is substantial evidence of falsified grades and zero academic integrity, meaning countless cases of athlete ineligibility. The “student-first” motto the NCAA has supposedly established from the start has been in jeopardy for twenty years, but there seems to be no rush. National media has swept these massive events under the rug, and the NCAA has followed suit. Instead, attacking the “little” people is justified, or in David Worlock’s case, an outright lie.

Criminal charges

When you look at the Kansas Jayhawks right now, the entire basketball program is one disgusting development after another. Rape charges have been filed on campus, and several current Jayhawks, including superstar Josh Jackson, are considered to be witnesses to the event. Carlton Bragg (aka “I’m committing to the University of Kentucky…. err… Kansas”) was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges back in December, and also had battery charges (later dropped) called on him as well. Jackson has also recently been accused of threatening to beat a Kansas women’s basketball player, where the victim claims the freshman guard told her he was “going to kill her.” Jackson was charged with criminal damage of $3100 of damage to the woman’s car. According to a report, guard Lagerald Vick “may have hit a female student two years ago,” and the university office recommended probation.

Is the media discussing this? Not at all. In fact, the spotlight is on how dominant Jackson has been in the tournament and how he has solidified his status as a top-three draft pick. He’s an athletic freak of nature, but the media isn’t touching any off-court issues with a ten-foot pole.

Is Bill Self under scrutiny? Not at all. In fact, when asked by local media about the incidents, Self described them as “major distractions” for the team with the season well underway.

Is this being investigated by the NCAA for punishment? Nah, they’re too busy saving face with Gregg Marshall’s wife and calling Drew a liar.

I get it, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but absolutely no one is discussing this matter. No one. The NCAA has their priorities entirely screwed up.

Tournament antics

How fun was it to see all of America hound the NCAA last weekend when the seeding was announced? Every year, someone is upset. This year, however, their agenda was so blatantly obvious it sparked an uproar of negativity. Sure, let’s put Duke in a region with just one legitimate title contender, ensuring a cake walk to (at the very least) the Elite Eight. Somehow, some way even they managed to screw it up and lose to SEC juggernaut South Carolina, despite Villanova gift-wrapping the Devils a Final Four spot with a cute little bow following their loss to (under-seeded) Wisconsin.

Wichita State could have been a four or five-seed, a ten was absolutely ridiculous. Two top-20 Big 10 teams in Michigan and Wisconsin were listed as seven and nine-seeds, (not) respectively. Vanderbilt had no business being a nine. Michigan State as a 14-loss nine? Please. Just go down the list, the vast majority were wrong.

I would complain about the South region having three title contenders and Kentucky’s path to the Final Four being extremely difficult, but it happens every year. I’d be wasting my breath. For the first time in a while, the rest of the country seemed to be just as outspoken as UK fans when it came to how truly awful the seedings and matchups were, and the relatively boring first round of games proved that.

When you dive into the actual games, officiating is absolutely costing teams from wins, even just this past weekend. Officiating has been a major problem all year long, and coaches across America have been outspoken about the matter. This late in the year, team’s seasons are ending because referees deem it necessary to make the games about themselves. Maybe if the NCAA actually focused on getting their on-court product corrected, it’d be more understandable when they make stupid decisions like the one they made yesterday.

Congratulations, NCAA. The story you so desperately tried to cover up is now spreading like wildfire, and you’re looking even worse than you did before.

@JackPilgrimKSR

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter at @JackPilgrimKSR

17 responses to “Congratulations, NCAA. You played yourself. (Again.)”

  1. infinite

    Are you REALLY still talking about this?

    1. Cals Hoverboard

      Personally, I love this story. Exposing hypocrisy, especially when it’s the NCAA !

    2. 4everblue

      I agree, the NCAA is out of control! If you don’t like the subject matter don’t come to this site.

  2. thenamerobdigity

    Great article

    1. UKPROF

      Totally agree ‘thename..’, how can we get a copy to EVERY employee of the NCAA?

  3. Cals Hoverboard

    Drew has something to add to his business card: Drew Franklin – Sports Paparazzi

  4. justafish2002

    Jack, I normally enjoy your writing but i have some issues in this article. First, two different groups inside the NCAA are responsible for media relations and infractions. You imply that they prioritize one more than the other, but each group has different timelines. Don’t stumble into a false equivalency. Second, the Kansas athletes are innocent until proven guilty and they have a right to the process. Its fair to draw conclusions from charges being filed (even if dropped), especially if it happens more than once. However, from what I have read, no Kansas basketball players were suspects in the rape, just witnesses. Rape accusations can ruin peoples’ lives, so its important to be accurate when reporting on such cases.

    1. justaguyinthebackrow

      Witness can mean a lot of things. It doesn’t necessarily mean they were in the room when it happened. And yes, that’s a lot better than being a suspect. Saying they were suspects is irresponsible at best and libelous at worst.

  5. memphis wildcat

    Just curious which top 16 seeds you would drop to a 5+ to make room for all those misseedings? Don’t disagree there were some errors but when you actually go to moving someone up you have to demote someone, it gets difficult.

  6. plumloopy

    “…this story just might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

    Okay, come on. Get over yourself, KSR.

  7. Tharkins24

    Josh Jackson never beat the woman’s basketball player. He damaged her car and threatened her, but never beat her. Not sure if this is a typo or whatever. Just wanted to point that out

  8. UKPROF

    Jack Pilgrim –
    This is more than likely the best article I have ever read at this site, ever! Well done, sir. Thank you.

  9. Ridge Runner

    Great story. Did I miss a North Carolina reference? Lol.. so many examples yes, hard to list all.

  10. catsarerunnin

    I bet she can squirt to the ceiling of the Superdome…

  11. chrisg18

    I’m not sure the seeding was all that bad when you think about it. After all you do have to move teams down in order to move teams up, as someone else pointed out. Your issue is with teams being too low. Not sure you mentioned any high seeds being too high. But just look at all of the close games in the round of 32. I think that goes to show there was a really large group of teams who were all very similar, along with no elite teams at the top. So the gap from 1 to say 40 was really not all that great. I’m not sure it would have made much of a difference to move some of these teams around. All of the high seeds still would have played someone that could beat them.

  12. MIDDAY

    This is the best article KSR has produced in a very long time. Well done, Jack. I don’t have the slightest clue of who you are, but you deserve a promotion.