Stunned by the news that they had just received, thousands of Albion College students, alumni and Albion residents stood outside the legendary Kresge gymnasium, mourning the loss of their quite lucrative basketball program.
Late Sunday evening, it was announced via Snapchat that the Albion men’s basketball program will be receiving years of sanctions following months of NCAA investigations. Fans knew the violations warranted punishment, but no one could have seen this coming.
“All I can think about is how much this is going to affect our program long-term,” said Jeremiah Boulfroje, Tobacco City, Philippines, sophomore. “It’s a lot like a nightmare that you just can’t wake up from.”
These sanctions were hardly unfair. Albion College’s men’s basketball squad has been receiving improper benefits for quite some time, possibly dating back the early 1990s. Quite possibly the most shocking aspect of the story is the fact that these violations have been taking place at an unassuming division three college.
Passion for the game is an aspect of college athletics that outweighs most professional competitions, particularly at small division three schools. Sure, professional athletes play with plenty of passion, but their incentive changes when they make millions of dollars a year. Changing that incentive in the young athletes effectively tarnishes the purity of collegiate athletics.
Some experts are saying this is the worst case of improper benefits in NCAA history.
Leonard Starr of sportssportssports.gov believes that the division three basketball world should take this opportunity to reflect on the state of college athletics as a whole.
“Losing an entire athletic program for even one season can and will affect a school’s entire athletic department given the hyper-competitive nature of recruiting these days,” Starr said. “Teams need to take a step back and open their eyes and look at what’s happened to schools in the past, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
To go along with the loss of their entire program for two seasons, the Albion men’s basketball team will have to endure three more seasons (2016/2017 through 2019/2020) without scholarships.
More to follow as developments are made.
Photo courtesy of Lowell McGinnis