Is it possible to have a top program without cheating?

I read a lot on this board when referencing top programs that they are cheaters or paying players, etc.

Is the game completely corrupt?

No doubt some programs are cheaters and others live on the edge.

What are we calling cheating?

Of course literally paying for players.

But is it cheating to work the heck out of AAU ball and elite teams and forge relationships and potential pipelines, or are we saying that only can happen when the skids are greased and all are basically corrupt - I.E. the game at the top levels are corrupt?

There are some on here that are convinced every game we lose, is because the refs cheated us out of the game, and, that our opponents buy their players.

A, not hardly.
B, when Bruce Pearl has two assistants under criminal indictment… you draw your own conclusion. Not to mention Calipari’s history of vacated tournament appearances and his dances with World Wide Wes.

I’m on here after every game and can’t think of one person that has blamed all our losses on refs and the opponents.

Pointing out there are cheaters that exist, which has been proven by the FBI, and pointing out refs have made some bad calls is not blaming every loss on those things.

Bingo

Here’s a question for you. If the top players are going for $100k, do you think it’s possible to regularly get top players without “playing the game” - whether that is funneling money from assistant coaches, boosters, agents, shoe companies, etc. through to players, parents, guardians, AAU coaches, “handlers” or other influencers? I don’t. I’m not sure what the mechanism(s) is for this but it’s hard to imagine that if the LSUs, Auburn’s, etc are getting these players through nefarious means, that the Dukes, KYs, UNCs, KSs, etc. aren’t playing the same game… and just doing it a lot better. “Business decisions”…

Another question: Is it even “cheating” if the NCAA only selectively enforces the rule? Was it “cheating” to hand check in the 90s when it was against the rules but only selectively enforced and we won games doing it? Rules against hand checking are inherently based no more on “morality” than paying players. They are amoral rules made by a compromised organization that sometimes enforced them and sometimes does not.

I hear you. Especially about NCAA selective enforcement.

My conspiracy theory is that top programs - TV network contracts - basically own the NCAA.

And NCAA perhaps looks the other way or forced to hand slap if too agregious.

If NCAA is serious (giving benefit of the doubt for a moment), how are some of these programs not busted for funneling money to AAU coaches and families and all points in between if it’s costing 100k for a kid?

Does Coach K, Boeheim and all the others for years just look the other way as the underground network delivers for them?