Westchester Community College in a New York City northern suburb is not a big time college basketball hot bed or powerhouse. But the two year college has suspended the school’s men’s basketball program for the 2014-2015 season because someone allegedly altered the transcripts of at least two and as many as four players who were being recruited by four year schools.
Men’s college basketball is a business and a dirty one at that. The line between legitimately recruiting a player for a four year school and getting a player under somewhat shady circumstances is very fine. WCC is a feeder school for students into four year programs in all scholastic endeavors. It appears that the school also acted as a storing house for players who could not academically cut it in a four year program. Keith Thomas was accepted at St. John’s University in New York but was declared academically ineligible, Giovanni McLean was headed to Oklahoma but something happened and he ended up at Quinnipiac University. McLean is not practicing or playing with the Connecticut school. Jammeil Walker and Darrien Davis signed on to play for Florida A and M but never got there because their transcripts appeared to be phony.
The New York State Inspector General’s office is investigating the WCC basketball program. It is unclear if assistant coach Richard Fields was fired by the school or quit. Fields is accused of altering transcripts. Fields hired a lawyer in case he has to face criminal charges.
The colleges sell the myth of the student-athlete to the public and marketing partners and television partners aren’t going to kill the illusion by highlighting the system that delivers players to schools. College sports ought to drop the pretense and hire players who bring financial and intangible benefits to the schools. Other students can work for a school and take courses, both basketball players and football players should be paid and have the ability to take courses if they want to.
This article was republished with permission from the author, Evan Weiner.