Scandal all over college basketball as season is ready to begin

The FBI looming over college basketball like The Demogorgon from Stranger Things has been the main talking-point since the first round of arrests. That was followed up by the yearly edition of programs suspending players for meaningless game right before the season tips in earnest.

It appears, however, the culmination of the offseason is — wait for it — even more scandal!

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, who did a wonderful job with the report, posted a story about an angered former friend of Georgia Tech Josh Pastner. This person claims the coach knew about all the incidents the university self-reported a few days prior.

For us at Unpaid Laborers, this comes as hilarious news, as we’re only a few days removed from our Josh Pastner Priority Poll Power Rankings. An, at least at the time, absurd joke about Pastner saying nothing to him was more important than compliance, inferring his family fell below that in his priority list.

The story itself is weird. Most people have focused on Ron Bell, the person who provided Parrish the story, as he appears to be a scorned lover of sorts. Angry that he didn’t get a birthday phone call from Pastner, despite crediting him as the man who saved his life, he’s apparently leaking this information out of spite.

Ron Bell seems to be an awful person.

But, for me, this is the real kicker of the story:

“And basically what [Pastner] told me is, ‘Nobody is going to believe you because you were in prison, and I’ve never been to prison, and I have a great reputation, and I don’t cheat,'” Bell said. “And I said, ‘You don’t cheat?’ Yes, you do. Yes, you do.'”

I don’t know if any of that alleged exchange is true, but the visual it created in my mind will never leave me.

For whatever reason, I can never picture Pastner as he currently looks. Only as a cheap man’s version of Justin Timberlake. Not how the triple-threat talent looks now, but back from his boy band days, with a lock of glistening and curly gold fur being attached to his cranium.

It is straight out of an SNL sketch.

Outside my own sophomoric amusement, there might be real ramifications down the line for Georgia Tech. We can argue about the stupidity of the rules not allowing such things, and they are incredibly dumb, but the governing body of college sports now has no other choice but to do its own investigation. A thing, mind you, Georgia Tech was trying to avoid by self-reporting.

Pastner has long been known as a guy who likes to create the narrative happening around him. His entire being is that of a man who wants as much control with how the media covers him as possible. When faced with adversity such as this, even if it turns out he’s innocent, it will be interesting to see how he handles it.

It could be telling. As telling? How he goes about telling his side of the story. Furthermore, who he goes through to do it.

Starting his collegiate career with known media micromanaging power Arizona, don’t be shocked if a propaganda-like feel starts coming out of Georgia Tech.

Benching Players, Not Coaches In Lieu Of FBI?

Add the Alabama Crimson Tide to the growing list of universities that are protecting future earnings by not playing talent who are tied to the FBI reports.

On Monday, it was reported that Alabama will sit Collin Sexton, as it doesn’t want to risk any penalties handed down by the NCAA.

Remove Alabama from this situation. We don’t need to use a specific program like the Crimson Tide or Tennessee Volunteers to make our larger point. I am doing that so we don’t let emotions get in the way of something I believe is comical, yet troublesome.

Universities across the country are continuing to bench its free labor to protect its own interest as they also continue to pay and allow the (paid) labor to operate as is without any trouble.

This is where the NCAA’s beloved ideal of amateurism becomes a transparent mockery.

If any university really cared about doing things the “NCAA/supposed right” way, anyone remotely linked to the FBI dockets would be shuttered for the time being, not only the free labor that programs feel are easier to replace.

To a different point entirely, if I were these programs, I’d call the NCAA’s bluff.

Instead of attempting all these preemptive strikes against potential punishment down the line, I would play for broke. Arizona, USA, Alabama, Tennessee, Miami, and whatever other programs have you, go out there and just play with the guys you have. FORCE the NCAA to vacate multiple teams’ seasons, as well as teams that could very well make up half of this season’s Final Four.

Everyone knows Reggie Bush won the Heisman. The NCAA can vacate anything it wants, but public sentiment rarely recognizes it as such.

Moreover, there is a chance that this FBI investigation can take YEARS before the NCAA gets any information from it — and that’s even if (a big IF) the FBI bothers to hand anything over anyway.

Don’t bite your nose to spite your nose when your nose might end up being fine at the end of the day. Instead, bite your tongue for now, in the hope that either too much comes out of this for the NCAA to do anything at all, or that the FBI provides nothing useful to the NCAA to allow the governing body to wield its misguided hammer of justice.

Reboots I Want (Other Musings)

Rebooting movies and TV shows have been all the rage the last few years, though, most of it is met with anger. Failed attempts at chasing in on nostalgia, by lazily reworking previous hits, put a damper on a trend that could have been a relative net-positive.

My issue is not so much with the lack of originality that comes with rebooting old product, but that Hollywood decided to not go the more interesting route. Instead of trying to cash in on nostalgia, by relaunching already successful brands, people in charge should have saved programs that had great premises, but failed for a variety of other reasons.

The 4400 is a good example of this. While the show didn’t technically fail, it can be argued it never hit its true potential because it was too ahead of its time. Maybe not gritty enough, but with a plot so interesting that this handsome Internet Scribbler has re-watched the show countless times, there’s was so much untapped greatness in it, it is a shame it went away in the first place.

A problem people have when a liked program is rebooted — well, at least one problem — is that it likely hit its full potential. We already got the best version of it. If that is true, then the only thing that actually awaits is an updated version full of disappointment.

Hollywood, when you’re done weeding out all the AWFUL humans in your industry, maybe take a gander at The 4400, rather than tinkering with Spiderman and Transformers for the billionth time over.

If you don’t already, follow me on Twitter @JosephNardone. Also feel free to buy some of the (still in progress) Unpaid Laborer merchandise. Both still need tinkering.

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