A raucous cheer went up among devout partisans today as a plume of white smoke rose from Hardy tower, signaling that San Diego State’s internal investigation conclave had reached a decision on provisionally-suspended senior forward Malik Pope. Praise the powers that be, for he is
The move was not quite unexpected, foreshadowed by word that Pope had practiced with the team yesterday. His status was upgraded to “questionable” and bettors pushed money in on the Aztecs in expectation.
San Diego State was the first men’s basketball program to suspend a player based on the Yahoo story disclosing documents related to criminal investigations into other players and programs. Aside from his name showing up on a ledger with 20-some-odd other players, Pope hasn’t been charged or implicated, and he maintains his innocence.
SDSU had cover for this move, in that only one other school (Texas) had suspended a player based on the Yahoo report. The implied amount loaned to Pope — $1,400 — was one of the smaller figures on the ledger. Even larger events are currently roiling college basketball and Pope was a minor name on a long list.
It goes without saying at this point that players should get a cut of the billions generated by college sports. The NCAA has no leg to stand on in continuing the charade of “amateur” athletics, especially as it cites a constitutional amendment permitting slave labor as justification.
Did Malik take some cash? He says he didn’t, he hasn’t been charged by the Feds or the NCAA, and San Diego State is satisfied with their internal investigation. That’s good enough for me! Losing the last handful of games of your college career to suspension would have been a terrible way to go out, and now we get to see what the resurgent Aztecs can put together in those games.
Full-strength SDSU plays Boise State tonight at Viejas Arena (8 p.m. CBSSN).