While Bernie Madoff lives in general infamy in a New York state prison, his name continues to be synonymous with the general concept of grift in the U.S. stock market. Now Madoff may have some serious company, though the man who could join him in such ignominious company may have also dragged a lot of college basketball coaches into trouble with him.
According to CBSSports.com and other sources, including The Sports Xchange, Houston-based financial investment advisor David Salinas died on Sunday of an apparent suicide. It's believed that Salinas' life-taking action was brought on by the collapse of a Madoff-like ponzi scheme that could have seen millions of invested dollars evaporate with Salinas' death.
As it turns out, many of the funds Salinas invested were sent his way by high profile college basketball coaches, with the likes of former Arizona coach Lute Olson, Baylor coach Scott Drew (pictured above) and Texas Tech coach Billy Gillispie among the head coaches heavily invested in Salinas' managed funds.
While it's bad enough news to those coaches that they may have just been swindled out of millions of dollars, it's possible that NCAA compliance issues could emerge from those coaches' connections to Salinas. Why, you ask? Because Salinas wasn't just a financial investor, he was also the architect of a powerful, king-making Houston-area summer prep basketball program.
CBSSports.com reported that Salinas, who was 60, had helped unearth a handful of prominent college players, with some eventually attending the schools coached by investors in Salinas' funds (Joseph Jones to Texas A&M when the Aggies were under Gillispie and Demetri Goodson to Gonzaga under current Zags assistant Ray Giacoletti among them).
It doesn't take an expert to see how the NCAA might connect the dots between investment in Salinas' funds and eventual schools of attendance and come to the conclusion that Salinas was running a de facto hoops hype academy which traded in prospects. Whether or not that's the case, the connection between Salinas' death, his funds and his summer basketball program will surely be delved into thoroughly.
For the moment, however, coaches who are connected to Salinas may be much more concerned about their immediate financial future than their coaching fortunes.
"We're not concerned about the NCAA right now," a coach who invested with Salinas told CBSSports.com on the condition of anonymity. "We're just scared we got Madoffed."