The Friday Show Prep (Updated)

Washington v Arizona

It appears more and more information is beginning to be uncovered in the investigation into payments made to student athletes in college basketball.

The latest on the investigation, reported primarily by Yahoo Sports, appears to tie some of the biggest names and programs in the sport to activity that appears to violate the NCAA’s amateurism rules. This could end up casting a pall over the NCAA tournament because of eligibility issues.  

At first glance, this appears to be little more than a balance sheet of unrecovered debt from loans made to several of the sport's top college prospects from ASM Sports, an agency headed by Christian Dawkins.

The documents include expense reports and balance sheets that list cash advances, as well as entertainment and travel expenses for high school and college prospects and their families.

The last thing anyone involved with the promotion and commercial appeal of college basketball wanted was for this story to drop at this time, with conference tournament action set for next week and with March Madness just a few weeks away.

But as the investigation appears to uncover more and more, it seems clear next month's tournament could very well be clouded in some legitimate smoke.

The question is: do you care? Because if the integrity of the on-court spectacle matters as much to you as it should, you'd most likely not watch the games. But if these things don't matter to you -- and by that I mean you're already convinced that college sports are as corrupt as the day is long and you simply aren't affected by it -- and it is of zero interest to you how deep the scandal goes, you're ready to fill out brackets and be entertained regardless of whatever lack of transparency may exist. 

Is it safe then to ask what does matter to you in sports? 

Because if you're not concerned about the athletes and risk of injury, and you're not concerned about the legitimacy of the games you watch be it from a corporate standpoint or a financial standpoint, then it could safely be argued the only thing you need from sports is a mindless escape.

Fair enough. We'll delve into that one later.... 

UPDATE: The NCAA has responded to the investigative piece this morning from Yahoo Sports!

San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings

A Smoke Cloud Appears over San Antonio

The ongoing drama between Kawhi Leonard and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is quite surreal.

We've seen drama before - on almost every team at every sport - but never like this in San Antonio. 

Guys with Hall of Fame or legendary-like careers named Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli have gone out of their way for this franchise, and this coach.

So now we have the Leonard saga, where we know as little about his actual injury status as we do about the relationship between coach and player.

I've heard it suggested that much of the problem with the Spurs started when they acquired LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015. I don't have enough insight into the inner workings of the Spurs locker room to know if there is some legitimacy to those claims, but perhaps Leonard is just getting a vibe of what's happening around the league and is doing what any smart person would do while exploring his future options.

Popovich stated earlier this week that "he'd be surprised" if Leonard returns this season, which doesn't clear up much of anything as it relates to whether that is based on the progression of his health or a frustration between player and coach. 

It’s rare to see this type of drama with the San Antonio Spurs. Coach Popovich may not be the warmest guy to work for, but he seems to have his players best interests, which is why the Leonard injury story seems out of sorts. 

I’ll throw this out, maybe it’s not Pop so much as it is Leonard considering his future. Either way, it’s a rare glimpse into a San Antonio soap opera. 

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