Time for the Devil to Collect

Back in March I wrote about driving back to Binghamton University, my alma mater, and watching the men’s basketball team clinch its first ever NCAA tournament berth by winning the America East championship game.  I stood on the court as the players, coaches, and staff cut down the nets at the Events Center.  I said I was proud of the increase in school spirit and the great national exposure this would give Binghamton.  I said I have hung my diploma with great pride in the name Binghamton.

That was March.  This is October.  Here we are, several months later, and the school is embroiled in controversy surrounding the athletic department – and mainly the men’s basketball team.  Shortly before tipping off against Duke,  a fund-raiser for the athletic department filed a federal sexual harassment complaint against two athletics staff members.  In September, a member of the team, Tiki Mayben was dismissed from the team after he was arrested and charged with the possession and sale of crack cocaine.  Just a few days later, five of Mayben’s teammates were also dismissed from the team for not living up to the school’s academic and social standards.  Just this week the Director of Athletics resigned amid this controversy and the President of the school said that an external review of all athletics programs would take place to ensure compliance with the school’s standards.

The only person left standing is likely the one to blame.  Coach Kevin Broadus was hired as Head Coach after spending time as an assistant at Georgetown.  A few days after his hiring  a NY Times report indicated that Broadus had recruited kids for Georgetown from a diploma mill in Philadelphia.  Binghamton’s AD (you know… the one that just resigned) promised that Binghamton would maintain its standards and not accept any basketball player that did not meet the admissions criteria.  It didn’t.

The easy way to build a program is to take on some transfers, some good basketball players with questionable backgrounds and help the team win.  When the team starts winning, more  people will want to go to the school.  The quality of recruits (both athletically and academically) would then return to a high standard and everyone is happy.  Before that happened, though, Binghamton was caught.

Binghamton sold its soul to the devil in exchange for one NCAA tournament experience.  Now, it’s time for the devil to collect.  The program is tarnished and will likely falter while facing intense scrutiny the next few years.  Broadus is no longer a hot commodity in the coaching world and what kid wants to enter this situation?

A couple co-workers were talking to me about the whole situation today and I couldn’t help but be embarrassed by the whole ordeal.  I’m fairly certain this was the first time I’ve ever been embarrassed by Binghamton.  When I make it back up to school for homecoming this weekend, I wonder if the school will still be standing.

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