If the report is true that Cincinnati is going to pull the trigger (Russian Roulette style) this week and offer a scholarship to NYC legend and phenomenal talent, Lance Stephenson, let’s take a short trip in our RTC time Maybach to peek at what things might look like a year from now. Fast forwarding…
Born Ready For Ineligibility?
Dateline: June 29, 2010
The University of Cincinnati and Mick Cronin were rocked by allegations that surfaced over the weekend that their one-and-done star, Lance Stephenson, may have been ineligible during his only season in the Queen City. In a YahooSports report, Stephenson, a third-team All-American and the third pick in last week’s NBA Draft, is alleged to have been paid handsomely during his junior year of high school for his role on an internet reality series called “Born Ready” that aired last year on MTV2. Rumors have followed Stephenson for years as to the propriety of that arrangement, and his father has steadfastly repeated that his son’s income from that series was $0, but the report indicates that Stephenson’s handlers funneled cash from the production through his extended family members so as to keep his amateur eligibility intact. After committing to UC last summer, the NCAA Clearinghouse verified Stephenson’s eligibility, but assuming the allegations are true, the key issue now is whether Cincinnati’s 27 wins from a Sweet Sixteen season should be removed for competing with an ineligible player. You may recall that Memphis faced a similar situation with Derrick Rose last summer (his eligibility was compromised based on his entrance exam even though the Clearinghouse admitted him). This makes the third consecutive offseason where an elite one-and-done player and NBA Draft pick has left a wide swath of NCAA rules-oriented destruction in his wake – the NCAA needs to address this problem, and SOON.
Note: the above account is a satirical fiction, fyi, for any idiot who tries to cut/paste it out of context.
Clearly we don’t see this going well.
According to Zagsblog, Stephenson will learn his fate today on a criminal matter relating to the alleged groping of a 17-year old girl last year (presumably not bad), and he will use that jumping point to commit to the Bearcats tomorrow. In an odd coincidence, Nancy Zimpher, the UC president who famously stood down head coach Bob Huggins and had him ousted in 2005 over years of renegade behavior and recruiting, recently took a position as the Chancellor of the SUNY system (effective June 1, 2009). Could it be that the new president, Monica Rimai, is friendlier to the athletic interests of the university?
One thing is for certain, as BiaH outlines in his post today, with Stephenson in the mix along with Deonta Vaughn and others, Cincy could be in a position to compete for a conference title in a shallower Big East next year. For Cincy fans, that should be very exciting; it’s just any fallout the year after next that should worry them.