It’s a move plenty of other college coaches have made before, but the departure of Beilein—reportedly beloved, supposedly clean, and, at 66, downright old, and consequently the owner of a particularly potent reputation as a molder of young men—is different, at least in that it’s caused a great fluttering of consternation among a certain cadre of sportswriters, all of whom have located great meaning in the story of a man leaving one job for another.
They point to Beilein’s departure—not the fact that the NCAA is a worker’s comp racket that exploits teenagers with the contrivance of the NBA; not the fact that college coaches make absurd amounts of money and are some of the most powerful people at universities while their players struggle to get by; not the fact that the NCAA punished a school for giving players too much money for textbooks; and not the fact that the fucking FBI is for some reason enforcing the NCAA’s byzantine rulebook and people are going to prison just because they gave unpaid players and their families a little extra cash—as evidence that things are looking pretty bleak for college basketball.
Sports Illustrated’s NFL problem-solver Mike Rosenberg took the opportunity of Beilein’s departure to write an obituary for the guy and also share his own feelings about how college basketball players are destroying the sport for the people to whom it really matters.
He waxes poetic about how “outside of his family, Beilein has gotten his greatest joy from helping young men improve at basketball from the ages of 18 to 22,” and about how “few people ever loved college basketball the way John Beilein loved it,” and how “finding another John Beilein will be virtually impossible.
Lexington Herald Leader columnist John Clay said Beilein’s departure was “not a good look for college basketball.”