Cornell's run to the Sweet 16 as a No. 12 seed may be tarnished after reports surfaced today that all 13 players on the roster have been given elite educations that all but guarantee high-paying jobs after they leave the school.
"It's important to remember that right now these are only allegations allegations that we are looking into," said NCAA president James Isch. "But, obviously, if true, this would be very disappointing. The NCAA has certain expectations and standards. It's not fair for players at one school to be given expensive educations while athletes at other member schools receive basic, remedial instruction that is worth essentially nothing."
According to documents seized from the school's registrar's office, Big Red players have received an education worth $39,450 per year or $52,316 including room and board totaling more than $200,000 over a four-year career. Compare that to player at a school like Kentucky, where tuition is set at $4,051 but with an actual value far below that.
Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose team must play Cornell in the next round, says the disparity troubles him.
"I don't want to say too much until these reports are confirmed," said Calipari. "But we're talking about more than a $150,000 difference in education per player and that's even if my players stayed four years or graduated, which many of them do not. Then these Cornell players are reportedly stepping into six-figure jobs after graduation while my kids, if they don't make the NBA, have absolutely no job prospects or life skills. It's far from a balanced playing field. They are buying the best players by giving them a high-priced education."
In addition to the allegations that they were given an expensive education, many Cornell players have been spotted around campus holding books, studying and engaging in interesting conversations. Others have been seen with people who are known to not be tutors.
Cornell point guard Louis Dale, who is reportedly enrolled in the College of Human Ecology, denied allegations that the Big Red program is cheating.
"The discourse on this matter is fatuous and inane," he said, only implicating his program further.