While playing for the Los Angeles Lakers can bring about a variety of external distractions, Kyle Kuzma being named in the FBI’s investigation of players who accepted permissible benefits violated NCAA amateurism rules, is a first for the iconic franchise.
The report alleges Kuzma accepted a minimum of $9,500 during his time at the University of Utah. If proven to be true, the school could face NCAA sanctions.
“I’m aware of it, of course. I’m sure everybody in the country is,” Kuzma said prior to the Lakers facing the Dallas Mavericks.
“It’s a legal matter, so me and my team, and everybody else is really just gathering information right now. My main focus is on basketball. I’m not going to say anything, really. Just gathering information about it.”
Coincidentally, Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. was also implicated, with documents suggesting he accepted over $70,000 prior to enrolling at North Carolina State University.
When asked for their stance, Lakers head coach Luke Walton and Lonzo Ball both said they believe the NCAA should provide student-athletes with compensation outside of a scholarship. Kuzma, however, was not willing to state as much.
“It all depends. There’s a lot of things going around, so I don’t think it’s the right time to say too much about that, with all the hip-hap going on,” he said. Kuzma joked Ball’s opinion was simply a marketing ploy to promote his father’s league that pays college-aged basketball players.
Kuzma did admit to the situation serving as a distraction but it’s not one he’s concerned about. “Not at all,” Kuzma said.
“Everything is allegedly. It is what it is. Everything is going to come out and people are going to say what they want to say.”
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