Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
College recruiting is often a cesspool as coaches willing bend, and break, the rules to land the athletes that would help them win and maintain their contracts. While it’s common for football programs to get hammered when caught breaking the rules, basketball has so far escaped the NCAA’s wrath; but college athletics governing body has yet to seriously hammer basketball programs the same way it hammered other sports. Despite the fact that college basketball’s recruiting process is easily the dirtiest of all college athletics.
So of course it’s the FBI and the Justice Department that bring it all crashing down on college basketball after a multi-year investigation into money laundering. Blowing the lid off of the college sport’s dirtiest secret.
On Tuesday morning the Justice Department announced that 11-count bribery and fraud complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The complaint centers around Adidas director of global marketing James Gatto, basketball organizer Merl Code and AAU basketball organizer Jonathan Augustine; the allegation is that these three moved money to the families of recruits so that they’d commit to the schools of choice. If these allegations are true then it’s daming for the top programs in men’s college basketball, and the sport in general.
The largest sum of money that was moved during these allegations was $100,00 that was sent to the family of a five star recruit to secure his recruitment to (allegedly) Louisville. This recruit had not been heavily pursued by the Cardinals early on in the recruitment and his decision to commit to Rick Pitino came out of the blue (at the time), but now makes sense thanks to these accusations. It’s not surprising that the Cardinals are involved in these allegations — the programs successes in recruiting and on the court show they were serious about basketball, and this is how it works for college ball.
The specifics of the case are absolutely depressing and shows you just how much money is actually involved in college sports…especially when it’s not supposed to.
It’s going to be see how the NCAA is going to respond to the FBI’s allegations and arrest, especially since they don’t have to meet the same evidence threshold with the penalties committee that the FBI has to meet in a court of law. If basketball recruiting is going to get cleaned up, unlikely, then college athletics’ governing body needs to absolutely needs to hammer all of the programs listed in the FBI’s reports while also launching its own investigation to clean up the sport. Otherwise, it’s unlikely that anything is actually going to change unless more arrest are made in the future.
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Proud alum of Washington State University, crazy sports nut, and drinker of beer.