Feds Come Down Hard On College Basketball

Filed in Featured, National by on September 26, 2017

Yes, it’s at least as dirty as you thought.  7 schools, assistant coaches, ‘agents’, a ‘major sports apparel company’ (Adidas).  Funneling money to recruits to attend certain schools.  The Feds have ‘em nailed. Conversations on tape.  The schools that have been identified:  Arizona, Auburn,  Oklahoma State, Louisville (aka ‘Papa John’s U’), Miami, Southern Cal, and South Carolina.  Coach Cal is apparently too clever to be caught.

Meaning, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.   Which college basketball just smacked into head-on. I think it’s going down

About the Author ()

Comments (31)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Dana says:

    The fact that the University of Louisville is involved isn’t surprising, given coach Rick Pitino’s involvement in a sex scandal — one in which he actually admitted that he had sex with a former escort for 15 seconds, and then wound up paying for her abortion — but it ought to be. In 1989, he was brought in by the University of Kentucky, to clean up after the recruiting scandal left by dismissed coach Eddie Sutton, and he did a fantastic job, including winning the NCAA championship in 1996. If anyone is familiar with the rules, it’s Coach Pitino; if anyone is familiar with how the NCAA investigates things, he is.

    I can see where U of L is a difficult school for which to recruit: it’s an urban school with not much of an attractive campus, where places like UK or Penn State, in smaller cities, have more room, are prettier campuses, and just have better atmospheres. But you have to know that, eventually, you’re going to get caught.

  2. Dana says:

    When I was in college, I was poor, and had to work my way through. It took me 5½ years, because I had to take the minimum full-time course load, so that I’d have time to work.

    Well, the scholarship athletes have their room and board paid for, but they are also ‘working’ a lot of hours in practice and at games. It would be simpler if they were paid a reasonable sum for their ‘employment.’

  3. U of L’s football coach, Bobby Petrino, is every bit as dirty as Rick Pitino:

    https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2014/1/9/5288648/bobby-petrino-louisville-scandal-timeline

    This is what happens at a nouveau-riche school with a stadium named after a nouveau-riche maker of crappy pizza.

  4. Tom Kline says:

    Huh, They’re receiving a degree in exchange for playing basketball at a school most would not be accepted at otherwise.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    When I was in college, I was poor, and had to work my way through. It took me 5½ years, because I had to take the minimum full-time course load, so that I’d have time to work.

    Well, the scholarship athletes have their room and board paid for, but they are also ‘working’ a lot of hours in practice and at games. It would be simpler if they were paid a reasonable sum for their ‘employment.’

  5. Dana says:

    I haven’t paid much attention to Louisville football, despite the presence of Hiesman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. He’s a fabulous athlete, but doesn’t have much help.

    I do pay attention to UK sports — everyone in the Bluegrass State does! — but the team I watch on television is Army. CBS Sports Network (channel 221 on Direct TV) carries the service academies football games. It’s a great atmosphere, the way college athletics should be played.

  6. Dana: the even BIGGER sex scandal was that Louisville arranged for exotic dancers/prostitutes to entertain 15 college basketball recruits. I’m not making this up:

    http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/news/louisville-ncaa-infractions-investigation-basketball-rick-pitino-sanctions-suspension-breaking-cardinal-rules/1n5bibh6u9glc11ob8opc7vh3v

    Pitino expressed no knowledge of the activity. The ‘Ville skated with a one-year postseason ban and a small fine.

    They ain’t skating this time.

  7. alby says:

    So a bunch of poor black kids work without pay while a bunch of rich white guys profit from it. Doesn’t sound at all like slavery.

  8. Dana says:

    Somnambulo El (his Kryptonian name) wrote:

    the even BIGGER sex scandal was that Louisville arranged for exotic dancers/prostitutes to entertain 15 college basketball recruits. I’m not making this up

    Every college has cute girls on hand to ‘greet’ recruits; that U of L used actual paid hookers isn’t much of a downgrade on that, and I’d bet a euro that that isn’t the only college out there doing that. Coach Pitino’s sex abuse allegation wound up with him being blackmailed into paying for an abortion and paying hush money; he admits that much.

    What disappoints me the most about Mr Pitino is that he knew better, having been the coach who pulled UK out of probation following Eddie Sutton’s tenure. Someone sent a package to the father of recruit Chris Mills, with Assistant Coach Dwane Casey’s name on the parcel, the package containing $1,000 in cash. The package burst in transit, which led to an investigation, and probation. Coach Pitino came in and cleaned up that mess.

    I’m just hoping that Coach Calipari has more sense.

  9. Dana says:

    alby wrote:

    So a bunch of poor black kids work without pay while a bunch of rich white guys profit from it. Doesn’t sound at all like slavery.

    Technically, they are being paid, with all of their college expenses being paid, but I think that they ought to get some kind of paycheck.

  10. RE Vanella says:

    A welcoming committee of co-eds and sorority sisters isn’t much different than hookers? Alright, I think I’ve had enough today..

  11. Dana says:

    Mr Vanella wrote:

    A welcoming committee of co-eds and sorority sisters isn’t much different than hookers? Alright, I think I’ve had enough today..

    Let’s tell the truth here: those “welcoming committees” are there for the purpose of letting recruits know that there are plenty of cute girls — especially cute white girls — on campus and that they’ll be able to get laid whenever they want. How explicitly things like that are said we don’t know — I’m sure it varies in different cases — but the message is delivered and received.

    Is that sexist? Yup, sure is! Is that racist? Yup! But we all know that it’s also the truth. There is no such thing as politically correct athletic recruiting.

  12. Looks like both Pitino and their slimy AD are getting the axe today, according to reports.

    The thing about Slick Rick is that he professed to be shocked, shocked, that such shenanigans were going on under his nose. He’s always been NYC slime.

    BTW, the reason this story is so big is that, while we’ve all ‘known’ this stuff has gone on, this threatens to gore the cash cow that is college basketball. When it comes to investigating, the Feds ain’t the NCAA. College hoops is really seamy in all aspects: street agents, shoe companies, pimp assistant coaches and, yes, big media like ESPN.

    Also, keep in mind that this is not just about recruiting. It’s also about assistant coaches steering players to unqualified ‘financial advisors/agents’ in exchange for kickbacks from the advisors.

  13. alby says:

    @Dana: Speaking from experience, the things that we all know make the best exposes, because it always turns out that we know very few of the details.

  14. Dana says:

    Coach Pitino is 65 years old and a multi-millionaire; I guess that he won’t be too badly hurt.

    He’s one of the best coaches around as far as preparation and winning games. Despite ‘being resigned’ from UK, Eddie Sutton missed only one season before getting another head coaching job. He had problems again, at Oklahoma State, this time personal ones involving alcohol, and had to resign. yet, a year later, he was coaching again, for one season at the University of San Francisco.

    If Coach Pitino wants to keep coaching, someone will hire him.

  15. alby says:

    Yeah, but will he get laid in Italian restaurants if he’s only coaching at Southwest Northeast State?

    Besides, blaming this on the coaches is just more buck-passing — literally. The money to pay recruits doesn’t come out of the coach’s paycheck. It’s the alumni booster clubs that dispense the cash — which, for some reason (gee, what could it be?) is not illegal. Only taking it is.

    Dana, the difference between us and you is that we look at this ugly, exploitative system and are disgusted by it. You are able to shrug and say, oh well, that’s the system.

    You don’t have to settle, you know.

  16. I understand Dana’s shrug. It reflects the serial lack of enforcement from the NCAA.

    This is different b/c this is the Feds, and it looks like only the tip of the iceberg.

    Wouldn’t be shocked, though, if this doesn’t end up like one big shrug. Right now, it doesn’t look like it.

  17. Arthur says:

    “…on college basketball.” where’s the same and even more widespread report on college football?

    One way to combat this is the distribute monies evenly to every sport at each school. Womens golf doesnt make $60 million a year? Doesnt matter, they receive the same portion of the pie as the football or basketball program.

  18. alby says:

    It also reflects the privileged place sports holds in our culture. The blame lies with the system that turned these players into unpaid commodities.

    A top-flight high school basketball talent is, in real terms, worth millions of dollars to whichever school signs him, yet schools are not allowed to (openly) pay money to acquire this business asset. Game theory would tell you that’s all the groundwork you need to develop a thriving black market. That the product being exchanged is young men, mostly poor and black ones, just makes it more disgusting.

    Because fans are white and middle-class, they tend to see the proffered payment — a free education — as a fair exchange. But from the standpoint of the player, what’s that worth? You can’t sell it; you have to sell yourself to an employer to benefit from it. You can’t give it to someone else, such as your mother.

    Remember, this “fair exchange” costs the university nothing beyond room and board (they were going to hold the classes already). There are some people who justify slavery on exactly the same basis — slaves were clothed and fed in exchange for their labor, so they were better off as slaves in the US than as free men and women in Africa.

    Note how little this young man was able to sell his skills for — $100,000. That’s because the rules were changed after another top recruiting target, LeBron James, went straight from high school to the NBA. His first contract was for three years and $12.9 million, a number that could have been 10 times higher had not the league’s owners, those exemplars of capitalism, adopted rules (followed more closely than any law) limiting how much they could pay in trying to outbid each other. So even that sum isn’t what an open market — the kind capitalists claim to love — would pay.

    To recap, his value is in the tens of millions and he has to settle — illegally, at that — for $100,000. And he probably got less than that after the middlemen took their cuts.

    You’ll notice that every professional sport has adopted rules that limit the free market in pay for players, which should tell you all you need to know about how much rich people value free markets. This is an example of why capitalism and democracy don’t mix well.

    Because sports hold a special and unquestioned rank in our firmament of values, governments local, state and national allow teams and leagues conditions of operation that would not be allowed in any other field. We have child labor laws, yes, but once you’re 16 there are few restrictions on your right to earn as lucrative a living as you can (most, quaintly, involve alcohol) — except in sports.

    But of course, this is just how things are, so whaddaya gonna do? They should shut up, count their blessings and play, amiright?

  19. I agree. The pretense of amateurism is utterly phony. And, of course, it DOES create an underground economy. The players SHOULD be paid, they’re making untold millions for their respective schools.

    What that would do to the notion of these kids playing their hearts out for dear old State U remains to be seen. But it’s the only fair way to even partially remunerate players for their services.

  20. alby says:

    “What that would do to the notion of these kids playing their hearts out for dear old State U remains to be seen.”

    As they illustrated most recently in Charlottesville, Americans will spend untold amounts of time, money and energy defending their myths.

  21. True, but it’s the myth the NCAA has sought to perpetuate. The myth and the reality are incompatible, legally incompatible, and that was made clear yesterday.

    BTW, both Pitino and Louisville’s AD have indeed been fired.

    BTWBTW, the federal prosecutor gave out his phone number yesterday, and essentially encouraged everybody to rat out everybody else.

  22. RE Vanella says:

    “As they illustrated most recently in Charlottesville, Americans will spend untold amounts of time, money and energy defending their myths.”

    Accurate.

  23. alby says:

    “the federal prosecutor gave out his phone number yesterday, and essentially encouraged everybody to rat out everybody else.”

    This will be roughly as successful as the war on drugs.

  24. Andy says:

    Where does Addidas figure in all of this
    The seller of sweat shop made shoes having all these millions to throw around to pay Louisville to be the sponsor of the athletic programs and brine a kid to play for Louisville Basketball?

  25. alby says:

    “Where does Addidas figure in all of this”

    Bit player. A handy conduit for the transaction, but not the supplier of the big bucks. Their payoff comes when/if a kid hits it big, and they don’t really care which kid it is.

  26. A who’s who of the college basketball scandal:

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaabk/meet-the-18-key-figures-in-the-fbi%E2%80%99s-college-basketball-corruption-probe-for-now/ar-AAswaYn?li=BBnba9I

    Andy, you’ll note that two Adidas employees, including a top executive, have been charged.

  27. Dana says:

    Arthur wrote:

    One way to combat this is the distribute monies evenly to every sport at each school. Womens golf doesnt make $60 million a year? Doesnt matter, they receive the same portion of the pie as the football or basketball program.

    At least at the big sports schools, football and basketball are the money-making sports; they not only support themselves, but produce the additional revenue to support women’s golf.

  28. Dana says:

    Somnambulo El wrote:

    The players SHOULD be paid, they’re making untold millions for their respective schools.

    What that would do to the notion of these kids playing their hearts out for dear old State U remains to be seen.

    Actually, most of them do: the only sports making any money for colleges are football and basketball. (There could be a couple of other revenue generators in the ‘minor’ sports, such as women’s volleyball at Penn State, but they’re few and far between.) The football and basketball players are treated like kings — and, at UK, the basketball players are treated like gods — but baseball players, volleyball players, golfers, wrestlers, ruggers, only a few fans know them.

    When I was at UK, rugby was a ‘club’ sport.

  29. Dana says:

    Somnambulo El wrote:

    This is different b/c this is the Feds, and it looks like only the tip of the iceberg.

    Yup! Most NCAA violations don’t involve law enforcement.

  30. alby says:

    @Dana: Conflating the “minor” sports with football and basketball is exactly what the NCAA wants you to do. Let’s be clear: This isn’t about any sports except the Big 2.

    Without the revenue generators, the rest of the sports would return to the club sport level, and the pros would have to find (and fund) a new farm system.

  31. mouse says:

    Aren’t must alumni boosters ran by the gambling mafia?