A mere decade ago, Will Wade was a 26-year-old assistant at Harvard, a good first full-time job for an aspiring basketball coach but hardly one that would guarantee long-term success in the business, much less an eventual multi-million dollar contract in the Southeastern Conference.
In that sense, Wade was no different than thousands of other young coaches on staffs across college basketball who aspire to be the next John Calipari or Bill Self but understand both the long odds to get there and how the incentive structure works as an assistant in their profession.
Get players, get promoted, make more money. Get players, get promoted, make more money. Get players, get promoted, make more money.
LSU's decision to suspend Wade on Friday after explosive comments from an FBI wiretap were leaked to Yahoo Sports has drawn a predictable chorus of backlash from some corners based on the notion that because the NCAA’s amateurism rules are bad, Wade was justified in breaking them (if that’s what he did).
If he cheated to get players, as the language Wade used in conversations with basketball hustler Christian Dawkins suggested, who’s actually getting hurt here? As that line of argument goes, at least the players are getting what they deserve, fans of the school are happy and, heck, isn’t everyone cheating anyway?