College basketball is in the midst of a firestorm over the widespread FBI probe that is exposing potential violations between agents, coaches and players on over 20 major D-1 college programs. Its no mystery that football is the breadwinner for most powerhouse universities, so if corruption at the college basketball level is exposed as being par for the course at these institutions, then undoubtedly stories of football players getting some of the same illegal benefits, probably at a larger scale, will develop.
The latest such story comes from former University of Washington star and NBA baller Nate Robinson, who was once a coveted two-sport athlete for the Huskies’ football and basketball teams.
On his Sports Illustrated podcast,”Holdat” with Carlos Boozer, Robinson, three-time NBA Slam Dunk king, claimed that back in 2002 when he abandoned his gridiron madness and devoted his full energies to going pro in hoops, a UW booster desperately offered him “$100,000 a year” to return to the football team as a defensive back and return man.
Nate Robinson says he was offered $100,000 by a Washington booster to return to the Huskies’ football team https://t.co/fbCBskEa0X
Robinson’s account of his interaction with the school booster was transcribed by the Seattle Times …
“When they fired Coach (Rick) Neuheisel my freshman year that made it easy for me to make my decision to quit and go play basketball, which I wanted to do anyway. For my three years at UW, I had a booster offer me $100,000 a year to come back and play football because they needed Nate Robinson back on the football field because we weren’t winning (any) games. It wasn’t exciting. It was crazy. We went through a dark age at the University of Washington. When Tyrone Willingham was the coach, we didn’t win not one game. It was just crazy.
But a booster came to me, my mom, sat down and my mom was like, ‘That’s a lot of money.’ And she was looking at me like, ‘What you want to do?’ And I was like, ‘Man, I want to hoop, I don’t want to take money from a booster and not knowing if this handshake is for what? For us to keep this money? Because people don’t do nothing for free.’ And that’s what my mom taught me. What do I owe you after this? My mom was just like, ‘What do you want to do? It’s up you. This is your life, not mine.’ So I told my mom I going to have to kindly say no thank you, but my dream is to play basketball and earn everything that I got.”
Sticking with hoops turned out to be a wise decision for Nate, who achieved a nice level of fame in the NBA.
Nate Robinson is one of the most exciting to ever step foot on an NBA court. He’s one of my personal favorite players and responsible for some of the greatest basketball moments I’ve ever seen. From his iconic KryptoNate dunk over Dwight Howard, to the 23pt 4th quarter in the 2013 playoffs.
Washington released a statement refuting Robinsons claims, saying that to its knowledge, no NCAA violations occurred. That response is predictable, but the fact that Nate said it publicly and recalled such vivid details about the discussion with his mother, makes you surmise that the school is just trying to protect its image. Now is the worst time for any university to be affiliated with players being offered cash.
“The events described by Nate Robinson had not been reported to our department in any way, and were new information to us this morning,” the statement reads. “Based on his statements it does not appear that any NCAA violations occurred, but we look forward to following up with Nate and any other relevant parties to learn more about this matter in hopes of continuing to foster a full environment of compliance within all of our athletic programs.”