College basketball scandal: Friday revelations

As expected, the college basketball scandal has taken on a life of its own. Probably the global basketball story of the year, revelations are dropping on an hourly basis. As such, I will continue to follow this story as our lead day-to-day until the revelations stop and situations settle.

The latest big news since yesterday’s update includes players and businessmen highlighting that bribery appears to be commonplace in the NCAA. Also, Nike’s grassroots hoops division was hit with an FBI subpoena, questions are raised about recruitment eligibility, another high-profile coach has been fired, and amusingly, some players are taking a moral stance.

As I said, this is a busy fast paced story. Before getting into the additional details, it is worth recapping what has happened so far. On Tuesday, 10 managers, coaches, and Adidas representatives were charged. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s (U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim) said the charges came at the end of a two-year FBI investigation, but it was far from over.

Boy was he right. All involved are accused of taking bribes from sportswear giant Adidas during the recruitment process. While those directly involved have fallen, the college basketball scandal has also claimed some who were seemingly on the peripheral. For example, former Louisville hero-turned-controversial head coach Rick Pitino, who was “essentially fired” on Wednesday despite not being directly involved in the case.

New Revelations on Friday

Speaking of those not directly involved, popular agent Andy Miller was embroiled in the case even though he appears to have done no wrong doing. The agent represents such NBA players as Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner. Miller’s involvement comes as he once employed Christian Dawkins, who is involved in the investigation and told coaches “If we take care of everybody, we control everything. You can make millions off one kid.”

In one of the most interesting twists of this scandal, players have now started ditching Miller. Like rats jumping from a ship, high-profile players have gone public and decided Miller will no longer represent them.

Again, it is worth stressing that Miller is not yet implicated directly in this case. Indeed, his company, ASM, fired Dawkins in May, although the runner did continue to be the middle-man between ASM and several high-profile NBA stars. Players choosing to end their representation is not necessarily the problem, but the notion they are taking a moral high ground certain leaves a sour taste.

While the scandal has opened plenty of eyes, I wrote yesterday that it may not actually change too much within the NCAA system. At least in terms of money flow … it is obvious cash makes the basketball world go around and it’s here to stay.

However, it is at least possible the eligibility of players in the NCAA is under threat. As the FBI has made clear, the investigation is far from over and many more names are set to drop. This means there are clearly players within the NCAA who have received bribes during their recruitment process. This not only goes against federal law, but also against the rules of the amateur footprint of the NCAA.

Depending on the nature of the incentives they took, some players may simply not be eligible to play. It is a conundrum the NCAA now faces and as I addressed yesterday, the organization may not be equipped to solve the problem.

It is clear that bribery is endemic within the NCAA. Over the last 24 hours, businessman LaVar Ball and ESPN analyst Jay Williams say they were both offered, but decline bribes.

“There were a lot of dealings that were being made that people didn’t know about,” Williams says. “There was a lot of money being exchanged. I know for a fact — there was a reported story from Yahoo! Sports back in 2009 — I know that we gave an AAU coach for a guy named Kevin Love who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. We gave him over $250,000. Now, at the time, we were also giving other players money because you were allowed to give players money through their AAU programs.”

“Every summer. They keep coming every summer to get me to say ‘yes.’ They offered you money, they offered to take care of the AAU team (LaVar runs), they’re gonna give everybody uniforms, everybody shoes. I mean, it’s just, any kind of way,” says Ball.

“But see the word got out that LaVar don’t need that. Someone even had a false accusation that said, ‘Oh LaVar asked me for $200,000.’ I was like, ‘Wow, that’s funny.’ What am I gonna do with $200,000? After I’ve bought a car and paid some bills I’m stuck right where I’m at. So $200,000 ain’t gonna do nothing.”

Finally, the latest high-profile NCAA-based coach to be shown the front door is Oklahoma State Assistant Lamont Evans. He was fired by the school on Friday dues to his involvement in the case. Actually, some may be asking why the organization took so long to make the decision considering Evans was arrested earlier this week and charged with taking $2,000 a month in bribes to funnel athletes to certain agents.

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