Earlier this week some news came across the wire concerning men’s college basketball. At this time, the scandal includes 4 assistant coaches and a couple of other programs. This scandal will continue to grow and include many more programs down the line. I wanted to write about exactly what the scandal is and who it includes. As mentioned earlier, will it include more coaches and programs? Will it reach further into other corporations? Will it bring down the system or will college basketball come out somewhat unscathed?
So far, it seems that the University of Louisville has been the hardest hit. As the news comes out, it claims that their head coach, Rick Pitino, helped an agent/shoe company funnel money to a recruit. Clearly, that is against NCAA regulations. The University of Louisville happens to have a contract with Adidas for shoes and apparel. Records show that Coach Pitino and an executive made contact right before their prize recruit signed with them. Of course Pitino claims that he knows nothing of the payment, “These allegations come as a complete shock to me”. That is pretty funny, of course he knew. The recruit that is being discussed is Brian Bowen. He has since been suspended by Louisville. They are doing this to save face and they do not want to let him play and then have to forfeit any games down the line. So at Louisville, they have suspended their prize recruit and the A.D. and head coach have been placed on leave. That is a huge deal and the possibility of more happening to them is probable.
Other assistant coaches included in the scandal are from Arizona, Oklahoma St, USC , and Auburn. All of those coaches have been fired or placed on leave. It is yet to be determined if the head coaches know what was happening. These coaches are being blamed for taking bribes from agents and financial advisors. They were being tasked with funneling players in their control to certain agents. Clearly, that is against the law, but it is also bad for the players. They trust their coaches and may not necessarily be getting the best advice from them because of the bribes.
This article title pretty much hits it on the head. Follow the shoes! The shoe companies have deals with major programs for a few reasons. They get great exposure and they also are able to influence the young players and possibly be able to sign them to deals when they are in the pros. The schools do it because they are getting free revenue. The relationship then would be natural to push the players their way. This all started years ago when Sonny Vaccaro was able to come up with the ideas around this premise. He is claiming these schemes have always existed and I tend to believe it. Even Lavar Ball has chimed in claiming that he has been approached about his sons taking money.
I am not surprised that there is a scandal in college basketball. It has been discussed for years yet it really has never been proven. Or has it ever really been investigated strongly? So far there are four assistant coaches involved. Will there be more? I would imagine that plenty more programs are dirty, it is just a matter of finding them. Will these coaches go to prison for their crimes? I think they might, but I also think they will talk and it will implicate more coaches. Will any of those coaches be big time names from big time programs? I would bet there is. I know there will be more to come in the future.