NCAA BASKETBALL SHENANIGANS
Early in March, two former Adidas representatives were sentenced to jail time for conspiring to defraud the University of Louisville and the University of Kansas. These guys are supposed to be shoe salesmen. Something obviously got way out of hand.
Former Adidas Exec Jim Gatto and consultant Merl Code are now facing imprisonment along with aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins. All three men are free pending appeals for the crime of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in conjunction with recruiting for college basketball teams.
Federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told the court after sentencing, “this should act as a great big warning light to the basketball world”. The judge went on to acknowledge that the practices under scrutiny in his courtroom have been going on for decades in college basketball’s recruiting scene. He also finished up by pointing out that Gatto, Code and Dawkins “all knew what they were doing was wrong”.
Even the name of former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, now coaching in Europe, who, although being a member of the Hall of Fame, was fired from his job after details of this story came fourth in the fall of 2017, was mentioned by Judge Kaplan in his sentencing statement.
Recently Arizona coach Sean Miller and LSU’s Will Wade have been given notice that they will be soon receive subpoenas to testify in federal court about the quandary of recruiting practices in college basketball.
The timing of these announcements frankly stinks. We are going into the final weeks before the yearly NCAA national basket ball tournament known at ‘The Big Dance’ or more widely as ‘March Madness’. Why now?
About the last thing that anyone wants to see right now is Miller and Wade hauled in front of federal court under oath to answer some very pointed questions about basketball recruiting and airing the NCAA’s dirty laundry in public just in time for the Big Dance.
What other well known names are going to be dragged up over this? Everyone connected with college sports is well aware that any university which sticks completely to the current NCAA rules does not stand much of a chance of recruiting any of the top players coming out of high school these days.
What possible good could come from bringing this issue into national headlines when most of the country is getting really excited about the upcoming basketball regional and national tournaments? It is widely acknowledged that these practices have been going on for decades.
We all know that reform is called for. However couldn’t they at least wait for a couple of months and let us all enjoy March Madness without the guilt trip?