When the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York announced indictments last week in its investigation into college basketball corruption, the FBI said the probe was continuing. We could soon be hearing proof.
Bruce Feldman, who covers college sports for Fox Sports, tweeted Friday morning that he hears more “indictments” are coming in the next couple of weeks. (Actually, the charges issued last week came from criminal complaints not indictments.)
So far, the investigation has produced the arrests of four assistant coaches -- Chuck Person of Auburn, Book Richardson of Arizona, Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State and Tony Bland of USC.
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It has also resulted in the ouster of basketball coach Rick Pitino and the probable/possible ouster of athletic director Tom Jurich at Louisville. The federal criminal complaint charged a school’s assistant with allegedly working with an Adidas representative to allegedly pay money to a prospect’s family for the prospect to attend a certain school. That school has been identified as Louisville.
WDRB in Louisville reports that in a letter to Pitino, U of L interim president Greg Postel said the coach’s “pattern” of “inappropriate behavior” constituted justifiable cause for his firing.
“Your involvement in these recent scandals cannot be considered isolated events,” said the letter. “Instead, they are illustrative of a pattern and practice of inappropriate behavior.”
Meanwhile, a five-star prospect whose AAU coach was among the 10 people charged last week, committed to North Carolina on Wednesday. Nassir Little announced he would sign with the Tar Heels in the early signing period. The FBI’s investigation turned up information in which Little was allegedly being steered toward Miami or Arizona.
(North Carolina has its own NCAA troubles to worry about.)
Miami has acknowledged that it is part of the investigation, but coach Jim Larranaga, through his attorney, has claimed his program is clean.
“Coach L has done absolutely nothing wrong, and neither have his assistants,” attorney Stuart Z. Grossman told the Miami Herald. “Never was he approached about a payment. He never spoke to any recruit or Adidas representative about a payment. If someone used his name, it was done in vain.”
After first maintaining silence in the wake of his assistant’s arrest, Arizona coach Sean Miller issued a statement this week where he vowed his own innocence and promised to get to the bottom of what was going on within his program.
“I was devastated to learn last week of the allegations made against Emanuel Richardson.” Miller said in a statement. “I have expressed to both (president Dr. Robert) Robbins and our Athletic Director Dave Heeke that I fully support the University’s efforts to fully investigate these allegations. As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance. To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past 8 years and will continue to do so as we move forward.”
Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton, who employed Evans before the assistant was fired with cause after the arrest, spoke for the first time on Thursday.
“I’m following the lead of my administration here, and this was the first time we were made available,” Boynton told Matt Norlander of CBS Sports. “I haven’t really thought about my job status, to be perfectly honest. I’m really focused on the team. I haven’t been given any reason [to worry] about that.”
Evans was previously on Frank Martin’s staff at Kansas State and South Carolina. Martin said Thursday at South Carolina’s media day that he had not spoken to his former assistant.
Southern Cal assistant Tony Bland has hired a high-powered New York attorney to defend him in the bribery case. Jeffrey Licthman, who represented John Gotti, Jr. and alleged drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, told the Los Angeles Times that his client is heartbroken by the allegations.
Southern Cal has hired former FBI Director Luis Freeh to investigate its basketball program.
The probe is already having its effect on recruiting.
Jalen Carey, a guard out of New Jersey, says he is no longer considering Miami, which also lost out on Little
And after Class of 2018 recruits Anfernee Simons and Courtney Ramey both de-committed last week, Louisville Trinity junior guard David Johnson said Wednesday he was re-opening his recruitment.
That news came on the heels of top 2018 prospect Romeo Langford, from nearby New Albany, Ind., crossing the Cardinals off the list of schools he was considering.
As for the investigation itself, if what Feldman is hearing is correct, we won’t have to wait long to find out what happens next.