Ahead of this weekend’s NCAA Final Four matchups, CBS Sports analyst Clark Kellogg checked in with the Unnecessary Roughness Podcast.
Kellogg, someone who is considered a staple in the college basketball community had the chance to play a game of HORSE against former president Barack Obama during a live telecast before the 2010 National Championship game.
A few years back you had the chance to play a game of horse or “POTUS” with then President Barack Obama. What was that experience like?
“It was one of the highlights of my life quite honestly,” said Kellogg.
“To have the opportunity to visit with a sitting president and to do so with the first African American president of this country who happens to be a contemporary of mine being that we’re the same age and have had a similar love affair with basketball.”
Obama is a documented hoops fan around the sports community. During his presidency you could catch him courtside at a Washington Wizards game or his hometown Chicago Bulls. He even ran a scrimmage with the North Carolina Tar Heels and teams relished the honor to be able to visit the White House after winning a championship.
“To be able to connect with the President of the United States on those terms was quite special because I don’t know if it would have happened if he didn’t enjoy basketball and also I don’t know if it would have happened if he wasn’t African American. It might not have happened if one of his best friends didn’t know me personally, being that he was a Columbus guy. All of these things kind of lined up and created a memory for both of us because he beat me”.
Did President Obama really win or did you take it easy on him?
“I let up. I didn’t take it easy but I started fast, pumped my brakes and then he got the momentum and took advantage of that”.
Did all of your basketball friends let you have it after he beat you?
There are a few basketball friends right now that still whenever they see me bring that up and they look at me with disdain and they ask me how did you let that happen? And I tell them you know what I didn’t let it happen, he earned it and it made for good television and it made for even better television that he won and not me.
Kellogg also had a lot to say about the FBI’s investigation of the NCAA. Although Kellogg feels that players should be receiving more benefits than they currently do, paying student athletes is not something that he agrees will solve the bigger issue.
You’re a big part of the college basketball landscape with everything going on with the NCAA and FBI do you think that it’s time for college athletes to start getting paid?
“I draw the line on paying the players,” said Kellogg.
“What I would like to see is a way to enhance the benefits and increase the value of the scholarships so that there are no costs at all associated with being an athlete on scholarship when you go to college and that all of those bases will be covered. I think enhancing the benefits to the student athlete primarily and perhaps if there’s a way to include the family and if there’s a way to get rid of some of the minor rules violations and that’s a bigger issue”.
Kellogg also believes that although it is an NBA rule, something has to be done about “one and done” college athletes.
“The one and done is an NBA rule but that has to be apart of the equation as well for that small percentage of guys that are only in college for a short time. The youth sports culture, particularly as it relates to basketball and more specifically summertime basketball. What the recruiting calendar looks like, and who is sponsoring these AAU teams. There is a number of layers to it so I don’t think paying the players is necessarily the answer but enhancing benefits and bringing coaches salaries back to a reasonable number those are things that I think will make some sense so that student athletes won’t feel like they are being terribly exploited which is clearly apart of what is going on now”.
One ongoing argument that has been made for years regarding the payment of student athletes for is that they are compensated with a college education, but for Kellogg the value that the students bring to programs is not equal to the value of a college education.
“Is the value of a college education which is between $140,000 – $170,000 over a four year period equate to what these programs are generating? Probably not but there are other services being offered to student athletes free of cost so we have to look at the whole picture. I’m not in favor of going all out and paying them, I’m in favor of enhancing the benefits and revamping the system so it’s more fair and there is balance in the educational mission and the commercial aspect which is the NCAA Tournament”.