Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NCAA: Cars for Players-NO-Cars for NCAA staffers-YES

Wilt Chamberlain and Nate Thurmond during a ba...Image via Wikipedia
One of the most, well, I guess I should say more because there are so many, unbelievable stories told by Walter Byers in his book involves Wilt Chamberlain.  Wilt was recruited out of Philadelphia to the University of Kansas in 1955.  His recruitment was as high as his height.  As the story goes, Wilt chose Lawrence to alleviate his asthma problems.  He arrived driving a 1950 Buick, later replaced with a 1953 Oldsmobile  that came from the Greenlease-O'Neill Oldsmobile dealership in Kansas City. The ledgers showed that he was paying for the car at a rate of $25 per month, cash.  Unfortunately some of the cash payments were made when Wilt was out of town.   By 1957, Wilt was driving a 1956 Oldsmobile convertible obtained from a dealership in Lawrence, Kansas.

The NCAA concluded that the 1956 Oldsmobile transaction had been provided to Wilt at no cost.  This, along with other violations, landed Kansas on probation for two years.

All this sounds familiar, right.  Eric Dickerson, Reggie Bush, Terrelle Pryor, etc. etc.

Well, here is the ironic, and some might say, hypocritical "rest of the story"  as told by Byers in his book:

"In recent years, O'Neill Oldsmobile has been one of two dealers that have provided free Oldsmobiles for some 30 top-echelon NCAA staffers, ."  "In 1989-90, Steve Morgan and David Berst, the top NCAA enforcement officials at the time, were among those who rode comfortably in new Olds 98s furnished without charge by the automobile agency that took care of Wilt Chamberlain more than 30 years before."

I guess what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.  I guess that is why Mark Emmert looks like a man trying to defend the indefensible in the Frontline interview.  Watch it here:


Chris Hellums is the managing shareholder of Pittman Dutton & Hellums. He currently represents former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro in In Re NCAA Student-Athlete Name and Likeness Licensing Litigation, Case No. 09-cv-1967-CW.
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