I don’t mean this as a pile on for Pitino and company but it’s been a long time coming. I myself would like a refund for all the Pitino books I’ve bought: Full Court Pressure, Success is a Choice, Lead to Succeed, Rebound Rules 2.0, the One-Day Contract. That check’s not “walking through that door” though I’m sure. The optimistic side of me still believes that success in coaching is about work, preparation, chemistry, and togetherness. We’ve learned with each year that passes that while that will separate those with comparable talent; the talent is less comparable at each level due to the illegally stacked deck. The house usually wins and we know exactly how it’s been stacked.
It’s been said that the French Revolution consumed it’s own children. Many leaders of the movement including Danton and Robespierre were all executed before it was all said and done. What gave them power is ultimately what took it away. The arms race for talent has created a system where the incentives of cheating far outweigh the disincentives. As those only limited by the constraints of their own morality were marginalized because they “couldn’t win”, it’s left the game to those without any such boundaries. Really, what “life lessons” are you going to pass on as leaders of young men when your relationship with those young men began with you breaking the rules? Be on time?? Really? Treat women with respect? Because…why?
The coaches willing to dance with the devil will tell themselves that “everybody cheats”. It makes them feel justified for their own cheating. The players tell themselves this as well. It’s not a matter of “if” it’s a matter of “how much?”. All of this trickles down to the high school level with the recruiters masquerading as coaches, entitlement, and the cheaters clapping for each other. If you want to have a conversation about paying players legally, allowing them to go straight to the league, etc. there are legitimate arguments to be made but those aren’t the rules we’re supposed to be playing by.
They created the monster. We’ll see how many the FBI have to chew up in order to kill it. I, for one, am glad to see the House of Cards fall. May something better take it’s place.