Five months ago, the federal government sent shockwaves through college basketball, indicting 10 men in a wide-spread fraud scheme involving some of the biggest names in college sports. Assistant coaches at USC, Auburn, Arizona and Oklahoma State were arrested along with several Adidas executives and others. Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino was also fired by Louisville as a result of the revelations. According to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, “the breadth of potential NCAA rules violations uncovered is wide enough to fundamentally and indelibly alter the sport of college basketball” and “will impact every major conference, Hall of Fame coaches, a score of current top players and some of the nation’s most distinguished and respected programs.”
According to Thamel’s report, the FBI has recordings of 4,000 telephone conversations relating to the investigation. ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach has reported as many as 36 college basketball programs could be named “based on information included in wiretap conversations from the defendants and financial records, emails and cell phone records seized from NBA agent Andy Miller.”
When the Department of Justice revealed the years-long investigation in September, acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:
The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one – coaches at some of the nation’s top programs taking cash bribes, managers and advisors circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes, and employees of a global sportswear company funneling cash to families of high school recruits. For the ten charged men, the madness of college basketball went well beyond the Big Dance in March. Month after month, the defendants allegedly exploited the hoop dreams of student-athletes around the country, treating them as little more than opportunities to enrich themselves through bribery and fraud schemes.
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