Shaka Smart, Texas players call for changes amid NCAA scandal

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Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns’ thrilling, last-second victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon was largely overshadowed by the fallout from documents from a federal investigation published Friday in an explosive Yahoo Sports report on corruption in college basketball.

The report asserted that junior guard Eric Davis Jr. received improper benefits in the form of a $1,500 loan from ASM Sports. UT athletic director Chris Del Conte announced Friday evening that Davis will not play “for precautionary reasons until further notice” while Texas investigates the situation.

Texas was one of more than 20 Division I programs involved in the federal investigation, including North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Alabama and USC.

A number of high-profile active players were also linked to receiving improper benefits, among those included Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Duke’s Wendell Carter — potential future NBA lottery picks.

Texas head coach Shaka Smart released a statement on the situation, stating, “I am, and always have been, fully committed to ensuring that our program operates within NCAA rules.”

After Saturday’s victory, Smart and several Texas players spoke publicly about the situation for the first time. Smart reaffirmed his condemnation of the alleged actions, but acknowledged the importance of the discussion they raised.

“Things need to change, and people need to follow the rules better,” Smart said. “We have a long haul ahead of us as a sport — to figure out what the right thing to do is moving forward. There is no easy answer. There is no quick fix.”

Davis continues to practice with the team, but he did not suit up against the Cowboys and will likely not play in the team’s final two regular season games. For now, his future remains in limbo as Texas conducts an internal investigation.

The new information only further stirs the conversation about the role of the NCAA and the student-athlete. The topic remains one of the long-standing and hotly debated issues in collegiate athletics.

“The stuff that has been on the media, obviously it sheds light on something that, as a sport, we need to address and improve,” Smart said. “I don’t have all the answers, but I know there is going to need to be a lot of change.”

Texas players, when asked, offered a more straightforward solution.

“Pay to play is how I feel,” junior guard Kerwin Roach II said. “I feel like if that happens, a lot of allegations and a lot of scandals and all that would be taken care of. But you just have to find a way where everyone gets paid evenly and there won’t be any problems in the NCAA.”

Junior forward Dylan Osetkowski echoed that sentiment.

“I’m not going to say too much about it. But like (Roach) said, I think we should get paid,” Osetkowski said.

And does Osetkowski think it’ll happen?

“Someday.”