May 10, 2007
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, IN 46206-6222
Sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org @ 4:48 pm, May 10, 2007
Dear Mr. Price:
I am a native of Durham, a longtime fan of Duke athletics, and I too have grown tired of the Duke lacrosse case. As a sports scholar and fan I have mixed feelings about student-athletes who held a sex party and shouted racial epithets and were punished with time served. Nevertheless, President Brand, before we close the door on yet another scandal in college sports I would be remiss if I did not alert you to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper benefits the Duke lacrosse student-athletes were given for their legal defense. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) bylaw 188.8.131.52 states, “A student-athlete may not accept money for unspecified or unitemized expenses from any organization or individual”.
If you recall between 1999 and 2000 the NCAA suspended 18 basketball student-athletes. In order to cleanse the culture of men's college basketball, the NCAA suspended then Michigan University freshmen Jamal Crawford because of living arranges that enabled him to attend prep school in Seattle (NY Times, March 5, 2000). During the same year, Erick Barkley a sophomore from St. John's University was suspended for exchanging cars with a friend (NY Times, February 12th 2000). The NCAA also suspended Kareem and Jaron Rush because they allegedly received cash from then AAU coach Myron Piggie (NY Times, April 14, 2000). Between 1999 and 2000, the NCAA also suspended Richard Jefferson (ticket to NBA Finals), Andre Williams (prep school tuition), Demarr Johnson (offense), and Chris Porter (accepted cash to avoid mother's eviction).
Fast forward to 2007, the Duke lacrosse rape allegations, and the Raleigh News & Observer article which reported the Association for Truth for Fairness (AFTF), a charitable organization formed in part to help the Duke student-athletes with legal expenses, had raised $750,000. The AFTF, which has now raised $910,000, allows individuals with no affiliation to the student-athletes to donate between $50 and $10,000 online at www.truthandfairness.org. The AFTF even has a course of action whereby parents, through a formal process, requests funds and the board deliberates and distributes funds to parents in “need”. In addition to the AFTF, Duke sororities, fraternities, non-revenue sports teams, and alumni hosted cookouts to help underwrite the lacrosse student-athletes legal obligations. Furthermore, on May 28, 2007 at the men’s lacrosse Final Four, The Friends of Duke (FOD) will auction a 2007 Chevy Tahoe to bankroll the lacrosse student-athletes legal costs. FOD also sold wristbands for $3.00 and solicited $100 donations online for the troubled Duke lacrosse players. No one has said one word about the hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper benefits received by the unindicted and indicted Duke lacrosse student-athletes. I wonder why?
If Barry Henthorn, the president of Innovative Communication Technologies and the gentleman who furnished Jamal Crawford with a room, spending cash, clothing, and a Jeep Cherokee, when the Michigan recruit was in prep school, would have been so overt with his illegal subsidies I wonder what would have happened? The only differences between the 18 basketball student-athletes suspended between 1999 and
2000 and the 2007 Duke lacrosse student-athletes are their sport and their race.
The irony of the comparison between Duke lacrosse players and the 18 basketball players suspended by the NCAA between 1999-2000 is that one of the players was Duke basketball student-athlete Corey Maggette. Maggette was accused of receiving $2,000 from Myron Piggie, but unlike the other 17 players Maggette was not suspended or asked to repay the money. The next year he entered the NBA draft and the Duke basketball program was not sanctioned. The entire Duke lacrosse episode is unfortunate in light of the actuality there was not enough evidence to have a trial, but there is no one to blame but the student-athletes who conceived the sex party, hired sex workers, paid the sex workers, and watched the sex workers. Moreover, just because society decided to shine a light on the misbehaviors that the Duke lacrosse student-athletes engaged in while in the dark; the Blue Devils should not be entitled to a free pass.
Should Reade Seligman and Colin Finnerty be allowed to compete in Division I lacrosse if they decide to resume their playing careers? More important, should the unindicted players, who received funds, be allowed to compete in the upcoming NCAA Division I lacrosse championships?
I hope that you will investigate the improper benefits received by the Duke lacrosse student-athletes and if warranted hand down sanctions that reflect equal justice across type of sport and race. At the end of the day, Mike Nifong, the Durham District Attorney, did not have a case against the Duke lacrosse players, but if they go unpunished for improper benefits, the 18 former basketball student-athletes may have a strong case against the NCAA.
Emmett L. Gill, Jr., PhD, MSW
Friday, May 11, 2007
Text of email sent to David Price, NCAA Vice-President of Enforcement Services, by Durham native Emmett Gill in response to the exoneration of the falsely accused victims of the Durham Hoax: