Jay Bilas has become a respected voice in NCAA circles, but the ESPN college basketball analyst thinks the college sports governing body tried to keep him quiet with a job offer.
According to Matt Giles in an article for The Atlantic, Bilas confirmed that the NCAA approached him in 2014 about joining the Division I Committee on Infractions.
But that would’ve resulted in Bilas being hushed.
“The committee has strict confidentiality rules, so I wouldn’t have been able to comment on any cases before the committee. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out why I was offered a seat — so I wouldn’t be able to talk about those issues anymore.”
Bilas has regularly shared his opinion about NCAA dealings, and his voice would’ve been missed had he accepted an offer.
Lately, for example, he called the NCAA denying the appeal of North Carolina State freshman Braxton Beverley “unconscionable, wrong and embarrassing.” Soon after, the NCAA changed its mind. Bilas also said the investigation into the University of North Carolina was like reaching the one-yard line and punting.
Additionally, over the last five years in particular, perception surrounding the amateur — unpaid — status of college athletes has shifted. Bilas has been viewed as a leader of the charge to allow payment for players.
Following the FBI investigation that rocked the college basketball landscape, Bilas said the current NCAA system and rules are responsible for creating a black-market economy. It would be ridiculous to disagree with that assessment.
Bilas has consistently acknowledged that rules should not be broken, yet he’s not in favor of stupid rules. He’ll continue to highlight those NCAA-related problems in hopes of sparking change, and there’s nothing the organization can do to stop him.
After all, they tried once, and it didn’t work.