As the NCAA explores whether and to what extent Ohio State defensive end Chase Young violated rules that strictly prohibit players from getting any money at a time when they collectively generate billions for the Machine, more details are emerging regarding the circumstances of the loan.
And, of course, there’s a chance that those details won’t hold up under the eventual NCAA scrutiny. If the NCAA is inclined to aggressively scrutinize the facts.
Bruce Feldman of TheAthletic.com reports that the loan came in December 2018 from a family friend, so that Young could fly his girlfriend to California for the Rose Bowl. According to Feldman, Young repaid the money in April. Feldman also reports, citing an unnamed “person,” that the family friend who loaned the money to Young isn’t an agent or a booster.
And so the attention now turns to the NCAA investigation, which ostensibly will explore the rabbit hole for the who, what, where, when, and why of the loan. It would be foolish, however, to dismiss any chance that the NCAA, for P.R. purposes, will choose to not be overly aggressive in trying to pierce through a facially-plausible explanation.
Attitudes have changed dramatically since the NCAA threw the book at USC and Reggie Bush for his family receiving side benefits from a group of agents who wanted to represent him. With college sports under siege for the hypocrisy that comes from pocketing all the money the players generate while allocating some of it to chase them around to ensure that they’re not getting other money from anyone, the real question is whether the NCAA will accept Young’s story on its face — or whether the NCAA tries to rip it apart and get to the question of whether the money traces to an agent, perhaps with the longtime family friend serving as the conduit for it.