Just when it seemed as if the drama was over, scandal is once again knocking on the front door of SMU.
In a damning story published by the New York Times this morning, Michael Powell reveals, in detail, how SMU knowingly allowed Keith Frazier to attend the university despite not meeting the academic requirements.
The irony? Frazier was arrested this morning, on warrants out of Irving Police Department, according to the North Texas Daily.
In graphic detail, Powell explains how assistant coach and recruiter, Ulric Maligi, repeatedly pursued Frazier while he was at Kimball, and threatened then head basketball coach Royce Johnson with the idea that Frazier would not be eligible to play at SMU if his grades were not raised.
This caused a chain reaction that saw an assistant coach and a school aid lobbying teachers, and the mysterious rise of Frazier’s grades. Almost overnight, SMU’s prized recruit was academically eligible.
And so SMU continued to pursue Frazier despite a school committee, that reviews athletics applications, denying the request. SMU’s provost overruled the committee citing, “broader university perspective and needs.”
Just like that Frazier was accepted to SMU. Larry Brown got his prized recruit, and SMU basketball began a journey down a treacherous road – one that would either lead to national glory or national shame.
Somehow, the scandal surrounding high school players and Kimball high school came back to haunt Brown and his program, but why is SMU surprised?
In previous articles, I have repeatedly defended the actions of Brown while at UCLA and Kansas, where he received NCAA sanctions. However, at some point, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.
How could SMU’s compliance and athletic administration oversight committees neglect to recognize Brown’s previous misgivings? How could the university turn a blind eye on the program?
While Powell’s article blasts SMU, it reveals an even more deplorable reality among collegiate athletics – the sacrifice of student athletes and their education in an attempt to garner more money and recognition.
It would seem that 30-plus years after the infamous death penalty, SMU athletics has yet to learn it’s lesson. As a fan, it is disheartening to support a program that knowingly engages in unethical behavior, but how can you really be that angry when it is widely known that most schools are just as guilty?
From the academic scandal at North Carolina, to the pay for sex scandal at Louisville, it has become all too clear that the NCAA has lost control of college athletics and that it is time for change.