True March Madness

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It is NEVER good when the acronyms NCAA and FBI are used in the same sentence. But as everybody gears up for the start of March Madness  this week, the bigger concern for the NCAA is the FBI investigation into the black market of college basketball.

Big-time schools with big-time programs like Miami, Louisville, Auburn, Oklahoma StateSouthern California, and Arizona are all being investigated for either funneling money to families of star recruits or steering current college players, who are soon-to-be NBA players, to potential agents for money. This involves offering bribes (as high as $100,000) to players’ families, assistant coaches, and head coaches. The NCAA, obviously, prohibits this kind of activity.

In other words, someone was getting “pay-to-play” money. “Pay-to-play” is the same phrase those of us who live in the Lehigh Valley have heard over and over again in the past few months in connection with the mayor of Allentown.  As you must know, he was found guilty and faces many years in prison.  In the same vein, the FBI investigation could send coaches and shoe company executives to prison.

Some question the ethics of a university making millions and millions off the skills of their athletes, offering the athletes little in return. Duke reported they made $33.7 million for the 2014-15 season when they won the national championship.  And the coaches of these money-making programs take in millions of dollars themselves.

It is estimated basketball shoe companies take in @ $950 million annually.

In the ideal world of the NCAA, a basketball player receives nothing other than a college scholarship (the elite players almost never finish college) and some meal money. Is it any wonder they and their parents want a piece of the immense pie that they help to create?  Many wonder who really is a victim here – certainly not the institutions that get these players; certainly not the shoe companies that get the university endorsements; certainly not the coaches; and certainly not the players.

So, yes, fill out your office pool, enjoy the next few weeks of college basketball, and try to forget that this is all going on around the game. But, rest assured, the scandal is not going to go away.

This March Madness will certainly lead to April Madness, May Madness, etc.


Gary’s Guesses (March Madness) By Region


With Xavier, North Carolina, Michigan, and Gonzaga in this region, this is a VERY, VERY tough one to pick. My heart is with Michigan because of Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman of Allentown Central Catholic High SchoolProvidence is hot right now after forcing overtime against Villanova in the Big East tournament championship.

My pick – North Carolina


Everyone ALWAYS likes Duke and they are #2 in this region, with Kansas getting the top spot. Michigan State is #3, but with the Big Ten tournament played a week earlier than the others, they have had a long layover (could actually be good for them).  But not quite good enough.

My pick – Kansas


This is where the #1 team in the nation, Virginia, resides and they are the best. Defense wins championships and they are a great defensive team.  Maybe Kentucky or Cincinnati can forge an upset, but I do not think so.

My pick- Virginia


As good as Virginia’s defense is, that’s how good the #1 seed Villanova’s offense is. They just won the Big East tournament, were ranked #1 longer than any other team before giving it up to Virginia, and seem to have the easiest region.

My pick – Villanova


Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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