I don't think that I'm stepping out on to a limb here to call Todd Mayo's time with Marquette interesting. There's been a suspension for unspecified team rules, followed by an outpouring of emotion by head coach Buzz Williams regarding Mayo's development after the Sweet 16 loss to Florida. Then there was the
suspension trip home for the summer to get him to refocus, which was rapidly followed by an academic suspension from the NCAA. That led to an off kilter sophomore season that (mostly) ended with one of the worst shot choices I've ever seen.
Now we're going to throw in the odd dynamic of having Todd's older millionaire NBA player brother sharing a city with him for the foreseeable future, as O.J. Mayo has agreed to a three year contract worth $24 million with the Milwaukee Bucks.
It seems to me that there's essentially two ways this is going to play itself out:
1) OJ provides an excellent up close and personal example of how much work needs to be put in to succeed when it comes to basketball, resulting in what amounts to the best possible Todd Mayo over the next two seasons. To be perfectly clear about things, this is the one I want to happen.
OR 2) Bad times, man.
As a family member, OJ is allowed a certain amount of leeway in the eyes of the NCAA regarding how he can assist Todd, regardless of the form that assistance takes. I have neither the time nor the energy to puzzle through the NCAA rulebook to ferret out the specific details of any limits that the NCAA sets on family assistance for student athletes, but let's be honest: there can't be that much. If your family has a stack of cash the size of Mt. Everest, it's kind of unfair of the NCAA to say that they can't buy you groceries on a regular basis.
Where we start getting in to dicey issues is assistance or benefits provided to student-athletes that aren't OJ's family, namely the rest of the team. I'm sure there are some things that OJ can do, but for the most part, he can't provide benefits to athletes that aren't his family. This is important, given OJ's history regarding impermissible benefits. In fairness to OJ, I can't find any report where it confirms that he did accept any gifts, and he steadfastly denied accepting any gifts himself. On the other hand, ESPN doesn't just let anyone go on TV and say whatever they want without doing some kind of investigation of their own and USC's investigation into the matter led to the Trojans vacating all of their wins from OJ's one season, forfeiting their NCAA tournament appearance payouts, and instituting a postseason ban for the 2009-10 team after the season had already started. In short: Nothing anyone wants to see happen to Marquette.
As I said earlier, I'm cheering for OJ to become a positive influence on Todd's life and career. But we can't ignore the combined troublesome history that these two brothers have when it comes to staying eligible to play college basketball. We can only hope that they've both put all of their issues behind them.