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Mother of former Duke star Carter: NCAA resembles ‘slavery and the prison system’

May 8, 2018 GMT

The NCAA is attempting to clean up college basketball, but in the wake of the Commission on College Basketball report, many have questioned whether or not any real changes will come in the next few months.

Add the mother of former Duke University standout Wendell Carter Jr. to the list of those who are skeptical.

At a Knight Commission meeting Monday, Kylia Carter compared the college sports landscape – and specifically the dedication to the amateur model which prevents players from being paid a salary – to slavery.

“When I pull back the layers, the problem I see is not with the student-athlete, it’s not with the coaches or the institutions of higher learning, but it’s with a system like the only system that I have ever seen, where the laborers are the only people that are not being compensated for the work that they do while those in charge receive mighty compensation,” Carter said. “The only two systems that I’ve known that to be in place is slavery and the prison system.”

Kylia Carter’s son spent just one season in Durham, where he played a key role for the Blue Devils. Wendell Carter Jr. averaged 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

His 335 boards ranked second all-time among Duke freshmen, as did his 76 blocked shots and 16 double-doubles. Carter scored in double-figures in 30 of 37 games and had multiple blocks in 21 games.

Carter and his family also made headlines in February when their names were linked to evidence presented during discovery in the ongoing federal investigation into college basketball.

In a report by Yahoo! Sports, an expense report filed by ASM Sports representative Christian Dawkins listed receipts for lunch with Kylia Carter. Duke said at the time that it immediately reviewed the matter in Yahoo’s report and found no eligibility issues for Wendell Carter Jr.

At the Knight Commission meeting, Kylia Carter said corruption in college sports is not new.

“Still, after the infractions that they accused us of doing, something with one of the people being investigated by the FBI. But I was still flabbergasted at the people there were being indicted,” she said. “I knew some of those people. I know for a fact that this has been going on since I was recruited.”

Carter went on, saying that money is the major driving force behind all of the corruption in college sports.

“At the end of the day, the talent is being purchased. The talent is being purchased, but the talented are not receiving any of the benefit. The colleges are only recruiting the talented kids for their talent, not because they will excel at their academic institution,” she said. “I want them to go, but I want them to go for two years. If you’re going to make them go, make them go and get something from it.”

Carter’s plea for changes highlights the difficult path the NCAA will take in the coming weeks.

In its 60-page report, the Commission on College Basketball made several wide-ranging proposals, falling mostly into five categories: NBA draft rules, specifically the league’s 19-year-old age limit that has led to so-called one-and-done college players; non-scholastic basketball such as AAU leagues and summer recruiting events; the relationship between players and agents; relationships with apparel companies; and NCAA enforcement.

It’s not yet clear how the governing body would pay for some of the proposals, though the NCAA reported revenues of more than $1 billion dollars for fiscal year 2017 in its most recent financial disclosures.

The commission offered harsh assessments of toothless NCAA enforcement, as well as the shady summer basketball circuit that brings together agents, apparel companies and coaches looking to profit on teenage prodigies. It called the environment surrounding hoops “a toxic mix of perverse incentives to cheat,” and said responsibility for the current mess goes all the way up to university presidents.

It also defended the NCAA’s amateurism model, saying paying players a salary isn’t the answer.

The Knight Commission on Monday urged even more reforms, saying the NCAA should make changes to its governance structure, adopt “new and more stringent approvals, terms of conditions and financial disclosures for income that NCAA and their employees—particularly coaches—receive from shoe, equipment, and apparel companies.”

“The Commission on College Basketball rightly emphasized that ‘the NCAA administers what is effectively a public trust in the United States—athletic competition among college athletes,’” said Commission co-chair Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education. “But it’s an open question if the NCAA can restore public confidence in its ability to be stewards of big-money college sports. To do so, it will need to embrace far more sweeping and deep-seated reform than ever before.”