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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Idaho State, of all schools, is reportedly under NCAA investigation

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Deane Martin (via Idaho State)

The only thing more depressing for Idaho State than its six straight seasons of 19 or more losses is the Bengals may have needed to cheat to achieve what little success they had.

A letter warning of a booster willing to pay recruits to get them to come to Idaho State has sparked an NCAA investigation, the Idaho State Journal reported Sunday after obtaining a copy from a university employee.

Former interim coach Deane Martin reportedly sent the letter to athletic director Jeff Tingey on March 6, the day after he learned Idaho State would not hire him as permanent coach. Martin wrote that the booster has made offers to recruits and junior college coaches and specifically told him "if it took a 'money handshake' from him to a coach or a recruit, to seal the deal, he was happy to do that."

It's certainly possible Martin's allegations are valid, but the timing of his letter diminishes his credibility. By reporting the potential violations the day after he got cut loose rather than while he was still on the job, he creates the appearance he has an axe to grind against the school.

If indeed the unnamed booster has been enticing recruits, it raises the question, what exactly has he been paying for? Idaho State fired head coach Joe O'Brien last December after a 2-8 start and staggered its way to a 9-21 finish under Martin.

The specter of an NCAA investigation hanging over the program certainly won't help new coach Bill Evans as he seeks to rebuild the program.

It's tough enough to win at Idaho State already. Now Evans has an additional challenge.

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