Once upon a time, I, like many of you now, was an unabashed amateurism romantic. My conversion to the dark side has occurred over time, but looking back on it, the sources of my revolt were the suspensions of Green and Gurley, which I found to be petty and arbitrary (especially in the case of the former). Sure, I had a particular ox that was gored, but I certainly don’t have a pro-Georgia agenda about it now.
I am reminded of it now and then, though. Yesterday came the news that Marty Blazer, a former financial advisor who’s a government witness in the FBI’s college basketball corruption trial, testified about payments he made for years to college football players.
Witness Louis Martin Blazer said he paid football players from Pitt, Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Northwestern, North Carolina and Alabama, according to reporters present at the Manhattan federal court for the opening day of the second college basketball bribery trial.
As recounted by CBS’s Matt Norlander and reporter Adam Zagoria, Blazer said he paid athletes from multiple hundred to several thousand dollars. Blazer said he paid family members and associates of the athletes so they would choose him as their financial advisor upon turning pro. He testified he never paid a college football coach.
Blazer went into more specifics with Penn State and UNC. He testified that, at the encouragement of an assistant, he paid the father of former Penn State player Aaron Maybin to convince him to stay in school. Maybin went to the NFL and the money was repaid.
The problem with being an amateurism romantic these days is that you have to suspend your belief about the black market. It’s only possible to wag your finger about players being paid if you believe it’s the odd occurrence, or, to simply choose wilful ignorance.
I wish I could. Instead, I just become angry thinking about the highfalutin’ finger pointing at Georgia while other, more sainted places tried (and still try) to pretend they’re better than that. It’s a bullshit narrative. The reality is that there are two kinds of programs, the kind that makes sausage and the kind that makes sausage without being inspected. Pretending that there’s some way to stop the sausage making entirely is to ignore basic human nature. Romantically, of course.