Adidas Execs has been jailed. Now Syracuse Booster does it openly

How times change. In just over four years, paying high school or prep school recruits to choose a particular college or university has gone from a crime to an encouraged practice.

In October 2018, former Adidas executives James Gatto, Christian Dawkins and Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, were convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for making illegal payments to recruits’ families. basketball from the University of Louisville, the University of Kansas and Northern. Carolina State University. The three were sentenced to prison in March 2019 by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. Today, boosters openly talk about “going all out” to make their team even more awesome.

College coaches no longer need executives from companies like Adidas to pay their recruits. In a terrific example of how times have changed, on on Wednesday, Chris Carlson spotlighted Syracuse basketball propellant, millionaire Adam Weitsman. According to the article, Weitsman has already donated more than $1 million to student-athletes at Syracuse and has pledged to donate at least another $1 million directly to athlete recruitment.

“Even though I don’t have a role on the basketball team, I think in the next five years Syracuse will play in the national championship,” Weitsman told “Because if I have to do something, I will do everything.” Everything Weitsman did is now legal. However, Adidas executives were convicted for paying roughly the same amount of money to recruits. Believe me, I’m not excusing what those Adidas executives did and I’m not pointing fingers at Weitsman. Adidas executives have taken advantage of young athletes and their families to gain favor with elite college basketball programs. What I mean is that this same practice is now legal and college athletics will never be the same because of it.

In June 2021, NCAA President Marc Emmert, which oversaw the investigation and convictions of Adidas executives, just under 3 years prior, adopted the Name, Image and Likeness policy for the college athletics governing body. “This is an important day for college athletes as they can all now enjoy name, image and likeness opportunities,” the NCAA president said at the time. “With the variety of state laws passed across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity at the national level. The current legal and legislative environment prevents us from providing a more permanent solution. and the level of detail that student-athletes deserve.”

Talking out of both sides of your mouth is something Emmert and the NCAA have done best. Emmert has since stepped down as president, after dismantling varsity sports. Here is my perspective after working in Division I athletics for over two decades. Student-athletes certainly deserved to receive stipends because they cannot work during their college career. However, allowing some universities to pay more than others can afford has forever stripped away the very nature of college athletics. The days of Cinderella stories and competitive balance are over. The colleges and universities with the deepest pockets win. There are some dark lessons learned that come with this practice. Oh, did I say college is supposed to be a learning experience and not a professional athletic experience?

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