Don’t look now but the wheels are starting to come off…
ESPN reported K-State’s No. 1 recruit, seven foot tall, Robert Upshaw, has backed out of his agreement to play for the basketball team. He signed a letter of intent with K-State and that commitment is now gone.
As 610 Sports Nick Wright pointed out earlier this week, K-State coach Frank Martin and athletic director John Currie not only didn’t get along, they disliked each other. The straw that broke the back was the decision by Currie and maybe others, to hold out star player Jamar Samuels from the second game of the NCAA tournament game which K-State went on to lose.
I like what Wright had to say about the story Currie fed the media regarding the "money wire found on the floor, or in the waste basket at a grocery." Remember, they pulled Samuels because a couple days before the big game a money wire receipt was turned into the compliance office at K-State.
This was wire for $200 sent by a former coach and father figure to Samuels. It was sent, like hundreds of others to college kids, for Jamar to have a few bucks for clothes, cabs, maybe some nice dinner or a date on his NCAA March Madness experience. Nothing criminal about it, as Wright pointed out, and I agree.
Clearly saying it was found by accident is hard to believe. In other words a lie; Currie hated Martin.
There were questions about Frank’s being a bit fuzzy with some of the rules he didn’t agree with (he’s not the only one). So it would seem Currie had people watch the team very closely and someone followed Jamar to the grocery and grabbed the trashed ticket, just to bust him and Martin. Again this is a grey area of "enforcement."
"I coached 16 years in the inner city. Do you know how much money I sent some of these poor kids with no parents or fathers over the years," Martin told ESPN.
The rules are way too strict on college athletes getting any outside money, of course to stop gambling groups from controlling a player. These small amounts of money from close friends or almost relatives seems to be okay though.
Let’s be honest its done daily. Most college stars get much more than 200 bucks for a trip like Samuel’s .
But the one who should have been punished was Currie.
Now K-State has lost one of the better coaches in college basketball. Martin goes to South Carolina, a last place team with a losing record the last couple seasons. Frank gets a pay raise from $l.5 million to just over $2 million. He wanted to stay at K-State. He built a winner in just five years. Three straight NCAA tournaments and one Elite Eight. He was the face of basketball at Kansas State.
Frank Martin was also terrific on CBS sports before and after the games this past weekend. At 45 he looks to be a guy who has a bright future behind the desk at CBS or ESPN. After he takes South Carolina to some winning seasons and March Madness.
I have no doubt he will get that done. Big loss for Kansas State.