Putting It All Together

Wednesday has provided a whole different meaning to March Madness. Several allegations and lots of speculation have followed thanks to the story Gregg Doyel wrote on CBS Sports line, and the announcement of Curtis Stinson's and Will Blalock's future plans that curiously followed two hours later. With that in mind, let's take a step back.

What we know.


Iowa State was as Doyel said on KXNO the "centerpiece" in the scheduling/recruiting scandal. Iowa State paid D-1 scheduling upwards of $50,000 a game to help them fill in holes in their schedule. This was necessary as ISU assistant coach Damon Archibald said because nobody wants to play Iowa State for that small of fee on their home floor. D-1 in turn kept a percentage of the money given to them from ISU and paid the rest of the scheduling contract guarantees to schools like Iona, Tennessee St. etc. This is a completely legal practice. Very few schools go through such firms like D-1, but it has been done before.


The Scandalous Part


The problem arises in that D-1 was co-founded by Mike Miller, the coach of LA City Community College, where Anthony Davis attended. If, as Doyel alleges, these schools went through D-1 in effort to recruit players from LACC by paying their coach (Miller), then that creates an obvious problem. It is suspicious that Tennessee St. would take only 25 percent of the market value to play Iowa State. The alleged reason they would take such a small amount from D-1 is because they have three former LACC players on their roster. Thus schools pay the coach thru D-1, who sends them players. 


The Other half


With that said, even in this scenario, ISU doesn't seem to be at fault. The onus would be placed on the Iona's and Tenn. St.'s. Even if Iowa State was part of this spider-web, they plausibly were unaware of the practices of the smaller schools connection with D-1. As Archibald said on KXNO, "We had no idea what D-1 did with the money. We just thought it was a great deal and we needed to fill those games." In this sense, Iowa State was just scheduling games unknowing of the potential circumstances surrounding it and is only guilty of bad company.


My take.


It is hard for me to believe Iowa State was completely unaware of what happened with the money. They at least had to have some knowledge of how D-1 operated. You don't just write checks without having a clue of how the funds are to be used. However, ISU may be caught in the cross-fire without having a gun. The only thing they reportedly got out of it was a few games scheduled at a reasonable price and a very loose connection to Anthony Davis. The Davis thing doesn't bear much weight. Doyel speculated he was a part of the "Pay for Play" scandal. He had committed to Morgan well before D-1 was around, first at LBSU and then again at ISU. The other schools (Iona, Tenn. St, Mountain St., Bemidji) all have one to several players that played at LACC during or after D-1 was formed. That would explain their involvement, if the alleged scandal is accurate. The question that I have is what other reason ISU had to be part of this? If they were "knowingly involved" solely for AD, that is just plain stupid. He isn't worth raising red flags over. Now if the ISU staff wanted (this is pure speculation) to set up a pipe-line at LACC, where they could funnel players to in the future, then maybe they had some cause to do this. But, that is flat-out ridiculous with the information we have. I see no other cause for ISU to be caught up in this thing, besides finding quality opponents on the schedule for a reasonable price.


Stinson and Blalock Connection?


This is where the conspiracies start to circle. Why did Curtis and Will opt to announce their future intentions the day the scandal broke? Very odd timing. I, for one, don't find their declarations all that surprising. I have maintained since January that they would test the waters, regardless of what they told the media. The rumblings I heard, were that Curtis only told the media he was staying in school because he was tired of the barrage of questions. The man is 23 years old and as a family to support. If he didn't test the waters it wouldn't have been wise on his part. His NBA clock was ticking as 30 percent of the league would have been younger than him if he came out after his senior season. That didn't bode well for his stock. Will is in a similar situation. He wasn't going to lead Iowa State to the dance without Curtis, and I don't think his stock will be higher than it is currently. Both project as early to mid 2nd round selections. But, they can improve upon that with a good showing at the Chicago draft camp, if they are invited. Curtis has said he is playing professionally no matter what. Will has left open the possibility to return to ISU for the time being. The timing of the announcement is conspicuous to say the least. Why not wait until next week? Why declare the day the scheduling story broke? These questions still remain unanswered. Perhaps, they wanted to get a head start in workouts? Maybe there is more to the story to come? We really don't know. I just wonder why they felt the need to do it only two hours after the other controversy broke.


It has been a crazy way to spend what could have been a day watching NIT or preparing for NCAA basketball. With the program up in the air, I don't know what will come next. I guess the best thing is to expect the unexpected. That's the life of a Cyclone fan.     

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