College Basketball Recruiting Corruption
College basketball recruiting has been a disgusting rat-trap of payoffs for way too long.
Now the price will be paid in a different way. And the shame is that the NCAA never cleaned up a mess it couldn’t possibly have been unaware of. No, it simply presided over an empire of TV rights and student-athletes who supported it, of coaches on the payroll of basketball shoe companies and scummy “street” mentors who guided the stars of tomorrow wherever it best suited them.
Federal prosecutors say at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000, using money supplied by Adidas, to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn’t name the schools but there enough details throughout to identify one of them as Louisville. The other appears to be the University of Miami.
This is not the tip of the iceberg. We’re talking about a stinky glacier of sewage and corruption.
Louisville acted on Wednesday, putting athletic director Tom Jurich and basketball coach Rick Pitino on administrative leave. As they said in “The Godfather,” you won’t be seeing them around no more.
The federal investigation has already brought charges in this bribery investigation against assistant coaches including Chuck Person of Auburn, Emanuel Richardson of Arizona, Tony Bland of Southern California and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State. Person and Evans were suspended; Bland was placed on administrative leave.
Louisville already had problems galore with a sex scandal involving “dancers” and recruits that could cost the Cardinals their 2013 national title pending an NCAA investigation that might suddenly accelerate.
In a way, there’s nothing new here. The FBI simply turned over a rock and there was the muck and the slime. Wow, what a surprise.
Pitino, 65, has not been named in the indictment but, through his attorney, called these revelations “a complete shock.”
They always are. Until they’re not. Because they never were.