Last week ESPN reported that University of Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller was recorded on a wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to star freshman DeAndre Ayton. The news came amid an FBI probe into the rampant corruption within the NCAA, in which several top basketball programs and players were named as receiving benefits.
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In wake of the investigation, Nate Robinson and Carlos Boozer addressed the situation during the second episode of their "HOLDAT" Sports Illustrated podcast. Both players admitted that they were offered money and revealed some of the details about their decision making.
Boozer, who ended up going to Duke, explained that schools offered him cars, a monthly allowance and the freedom to skip classes at his leisure. Ultimately, Boozer said he turned down the offers "because I wasn’t used to getting handouts. I was used to working for everything I ever got."
"I had schools telling me that if you come to my school you’ll start right away, we’ll give you a Jeep Cherokee, which at that time was one of the hottest whips out, we’ll give you $1,000 a month, you don’t have to go to class, you just gotta come play ball for us."
Robinson told the story of how a University of Washington booster had offered to pay him $100,000 a year if he agreed to play football for the Huskies. While Robinson initially enrolled to UW on a football scholarship, he quit after one season to pursue his basketball dream.
"When they fired 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," Robinson recalled. "For my three years at UW, I had a booster offer me $100,000 per 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."
"But a booster came to me, my mom sat down and my mom was like, 'That’s a lot of money,'" Robinson said. "And she was looking at me like, 'What you want to do?' And I was like, 'I want to hoop, I don't want to take money from a booster and not knowing if this handshake is 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 to you. This is your life, not mine.' I told my mom I was going to have to kindly say no thank you, but my dream is to play basketball and earn everything that I got."