Titans not participating in pay-to-play CBI is right move

An upsetting 71-66 loss to Youngstown State in the second round of the Horizon League tournament ended Antoine Davis’s chase for “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s NCAA scoring record, but for about a week, there was speculation there would be another opportunity for a Titan to re-write the record books.

Detroit Mercy, although out of contention for the NCAA and NIT tournaments at 14-19, was rumored to be in contention for an invite to the College Basketball Invitational.

The low-level postseason tournament even tweeted a photo suggesting it would be sending an invite UDM’s way. The controversial move continued national conversations – and criticisms – about Davis potentially breaking the record.

Multiple sports personalities like Shannon Sharpe, Skip Bayless and Dan Patrick have weighed in as Davis neared Maravich’s record, with some saying it’s not fair since Davis has played five seasons (due to an extra year of eligibility from COVID-19) and that Maravich didn’t have a three-point shot when he played. There’s also been criti- cism over the level of competition Davis has faced. While the times are very different, you can’t discredit Davis’s achievements because the game has evolved in multiple areas.

We cannot take anything away from a player due to change within a game, but we can determine whether how the goal was reached holds the same meaning.

That’s why this latest twist in the story deserves a deeper look. 

While it’s unclear if UDM even got a CBI invite to accept or reject, the dilemma the school potentially faced over playing in the CBI centers around the fact that it would have had to pay a reported $27,500 entry fee, plus additional thousands in travel costs. The Detroit News said the total bill could hit $50,000.

With Davis four points shy of breaking the record, the situation was being looked at as buying a guaranteed accomplishment.

Some say the move would have been selfish, now turning this into a moral dilemma on what is right and what is wrong.

The chase for the record isn’t selfish; it’s how the record would be achieved.

The lead-up to big moments in sports is always suspenseful. But the story of how these moments happen is almost as important as the accomplishment itself. How will a moment in time that an athlete has worked hard for be remembered?

If Davis secured the record in a pay-to-play tournament, it could have put UDM athletics in a negative light.

This is not only an issue that would follow Davis moving forward, it would also follow the UDM athletic department, since the school would have forever been tied to

the story of how the record was obtained.

Davis is arguably the best scorer in the NCAA and one of the greatest Titans of all-time; it’s good that his story didn’t end in such a bad light.

To put Davis in the best light to end his NCAA/Titan career, it was right for the CBI to pass on Detroit, and if they would have offered an invite, the school should have rejected it.

And even if UDM accepted an invite, Davis could have – and should have – chosen to sit out the game.

For five years, Davis has proven to be a great ambassador for the university and has earned his place with the Titan greats in the rafters of Calihan Hall. He’s now free to move forward with whatever path he chooses, and the basketball program can move forward with returning players that will be leading the team in the 2023-24 season.

It would have been great for Davis to break the scoring record, but it’s good that it’s not happening in a pay-to-play tournament, which could have damaged his and UDM’s reputation.