- Three UCLA basketball players, including LiAngelo Ball, were arrested on charges of shoplifting during the team’s excursion to China for an exhibition game.
- Jeff Van Gundy said the team was only there to help the NCAA sell something to make more money.
- Van Gundy said it’s not a “cultural excursion” if the team was out shopping.
ESPN analyst and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy criticized the NCAA on Wednesday for what he called the “nonsense” of sending student-athletes to China.
The comments came after three UCLA basketball players, including LiAngelo Ball, were arrested on charges of shoplifting over an alleged theft at a Louis Vuitton store in China.
The three students were reportedly released on bail but were ordered to stay at the team’s hotel until the legal process concludes.
During the Golden State Warriors’ 125-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, Van Gundy questioned why the teams were in China in the first place.
“Why is UCLA and Georgia Tech in China to play a basketball game?” Van Gundy said. “Missing all that school, and then force-feeding their fans the idea of ‘student-athletes.’ If it’s such a cultural excursion, what is UCLA doing in the Louis Vuitton sunglass section? They can do that in Beverly Hills. You’re in charge of that league, I’ll tell you what the answer is: money. They are trying to sell something to get more money.”
Van Gundy added: “Stop the nonsense about ‘student-athlete.’ And I know they have tutors on there, and all that. You’re always going to get fed the same lines.”
William Nee, a Hong Kong-based legal expert, told Yahoo that it’s rare for people to get American-style bail, which could be a good sign for the players. However, Chinese law enforcement is also unlikely to just let them off the hook simply because they’re foreigners.
“If it’s a cultural excursion, why aren’t they doing something cultural?” Van Gundy said. “You can shop anywhere.”
Watch Van Gundy’s comments below:
Jeff Van Gundy and Dave Paschdiscussing the UCLA incident in China, and also college athletics.pic.twitter.com/llrdhqt1vs
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) November 9, 2017