Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Free Charlie Villanueva

November 21, 2003 Columns No Comments



Free Charlie!

by Michael Ermitage



When I first heard of Charlie Villanueva, I didn’t like him. It was during the whole Roy Williams to UNC, Bill Self to Kansas, and Tom Crean to nowhere dominoes this past off-season. I think I was perusing a message board (most likely illiniboard – the Cadillac of message boards) when I read that Charlie wasn’t sure if he was going to honor his verbal commitment to Illinois if Self wasn’t the head coach. Being a Big Ten fan and an Illinois native, I was understandably peeved. After all the coaching drama ended, Villanueva ended up in Storrs, Connecticut playing for the University of Connecticut. And now, lo and behold, the vilified Villanueva has become the charming protagonist to the NCAA’s foil. There is no bigger villain in college athletics than the NCAA. Villanueva’s summer wavering is kid’s play compared to the strong-arm antics of the NCAA. It’s like if Saddam Hussein kidnapped Rush Limbaugh – you’re totally rooting for Limbaugh, even if you generally don’t.

In this case, the NCAA is investigating whether or not Villanueva’s family paid for his entire “NBA exploration” when Charlie worked out for teams in May and June. Apparently a friend of Villanueva’s, whom Charlie says he’s known for eight years, paid the expenses. The NCAA is looking into the details of that relationship to see if Villanueva’s money was ill gotten. Now, of course, I want the NCAA to do its due diligence in investigating these kinds of improprieties. But it’s the timing that’s all wrong. Why now? Shouldn’t this have been determined long ago, say in May or June when this all occurred? Now you have a young man who has made the choice to attend college and play college basketball only to be denied. He has done all the work necessary by qualifying academically to play, enrolling in his classes, attending practice, etc. By forcing Villanueva to sit, the NCAA deprives him of playing, deprives his teammates of his contribution, and deprives college basketball fans from seeing a great talent on the court. What if this investigation yields only evidence that Villanueva legitimately paid for those workout trips? Will the NCAA say I’m sorry about taking two (or three, or five, or however long this will take) games from Villanueva’s collegiate career that he can never relive? And what about the message this is sending to others? It looks as though if you are choosing between the NBA and college that you’ll have a fight on your hands if college is your destination.

I know that calling out an organization like the NCAA for misdeeds is like calling Satan a “bad guy.” This is not news. But to the NCAA’s credit, its overbearing rule probably has served some benefit to college basketball. However, their effect is in the preventative realm – stomping out all types of cheating long before it happens through fear of punishment, like a Singapore courtroom. In this case, however, it is hurting the future of the game. Certainly the NCAA could see this happening long before it did – so there should be a system in place to deal with athletes that are in Villanueva’s position. For any high school athlete that has verballed to an institution and works out for an NBA team, they should be required to provide some simple information about how the workouts were financed. The NCAA then should investigate in a prompt fashion. There couldn’t be that many kids in this situation per year.

Charlie Villanueva is another sick example of the NCAA publicly displaying its power. I may have disliked Charlie when I first heard of him, but he has no bigger fan than me now. Free Charlie!

     

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 by

The FBI has zeroed in on college basketball in a big way, and what has happened may be the beginning of a massive hit to the sport. We discuss what we know thus far in our latest podcast.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.