Friday, April 3, 2009

Tudor's Take: Ty and the tables

North Carolina fans should hope Ty Lawson makes wiser decisions Saturday against Villanova than he did earlier this week during the school's trip to the Final Four.

Lawson, a 21-year-old junior widely expected to turn pro this spring, said Thursday that he went to Detroit's Greektown Casino and won $250 at the craps table. Nice haul, but Not Too Smart.

There is nothing bad, illegal or even in violation of the complex NCAA rule book about what Lawson did. It just doesn't look or sound good for a player -- a star and one of the team's most visible leaders -- to show up in a gambling establishment only days before his team plays a Final Four game.

It's not the act itself. It's the appearance, even if the player was only following the example set by coach Roy Williams, who isn't shy about discussing his casino sorties and habit of betting on the golf course.

I'm definitely not casting the first stone on this thing. It's been several years, but I've done both. Williams' actions wouldn't offend me at all unless his gambling gets out of control.

But Williams and his players also need to understand that gambling and high-dollar gamblers have a long, ugly history in their sport. A nearly nationwide point-shaving event in the 1950s eventually led to the end of Raleigh's immensely popular Dixie Classic tournament and created considerable turmoil in the Carolina and N.C. State programs.

It all happened because the college players needed some spending money and the crooks had their ways of getting to the players. The involved players were not hardened criminals or low-lifes. They simply were drawn into situations they didn't understand, couldn't control and didn't have the knowledge to avoid. They didn't even get paid very much to miss shots and make turnovers.

Ultimately, however, that point-shaving scandal almost collapsed college basketball. It's a history lesson worth being taught to each generation of players.

Williams was right when he said the NCAA was inviting trouble when it put the Final Four in an area dotted by casinos.

On the other hand, the day may not be far away when legal gambling houses are important economic generators in cities throughout the country. Any state with a lottery is already in the gaming business in the most technical sense. Legalized gambling simply is here to stay whether everyone likes it or not.

The best long-term defense for schools and their programs is to make casinos completely off-limits to players. That way, at least the players will realize they are breaking a school rule if they visit one.

-- Caulton Tudor


David I said...

Boy how the media loves to try and create a story when there really isn't one to be found. You just compared a 21 yr old adult who broke no law to a scandal of point shaving? Why not try and compare this action to organized crime? Capone? Or anything else that is completely non-relevant? Do you think no college athletic player should ever be allowed to buy a lottery ticket? Is your argument that following laws is not enough for college players so we should enact even more rules to them just because they play sports? Talk about the media making a mountain out of a mole hill. But why just limit this to college students who play sports? What about all the other college students? Or are you suggesting athletes should be held to a higher standard than other college students?

Anonymous said...

this is the dumbest f-ing blog ever...i only read the first paragraph and this is irrelevant to final four weekend. STUPID!

Anonymous said...

Tudor, you are a dinosaur. You were a dinosaur when I lived in Raleigh years ago. This is a complete non-story. If Lawson had won $250 in the NC lottery you would have lauded him for supporting education.

Anonymous said...

HOPEFULLY, he doesn't have a bad game. Then, they will be saying he put that $250 on Villanova to win! Oh no....I just gave up the next headline for the media to put out. Sorry.