The past few months has been a scandalous one for Division I basketball programs. In September, four assistant coaches and 10 individuals in total were charged with multiple counts of fraud and corruption related to a bribery scheme that sought to funnel recruits to programs, apparel companies and ultimately representation. The FBI’s sting operation resulted in indictments for multiple individuals connected to NCAA programs, while it has implicated many more high-profile coaches, active players, former players, agents and athletic directors.
On Thursday at the NCAA Convention, NCAA President Mark Emmert addressed the FBI investigation and discussed how he and member institutions will address college basketball’s rampant corruption problem.
“Scandals that call into question our commitment to academic integrity make whatever praise we have of our highest graduation rates ring pretty hollow,” Emmert said in his address on the state of college sports at the NCAA convention. “And we have to recognize that we can’t dance around those things. We can’t make excuses for them.
“How do we respond? Well, I think first of all, by not retreating from it. By not getting under our desks.”
In October, the NCAA formed the Commission on College Basketball and tapped Condoleezza Rice to lead a group that included former Georgetown coach John Thompson II, Grant Hill, David Robinson, former Florida AD Jeremy Foley, among others to chart a path forward for D-I hoops.
According to Emmert, the independent Commission on College Basketball is issuing its own report, which will give recommendations to the NCAA Board of Governors on April 25. From that report, legislation will be drafted that they intend to pass before the 2018-19 college basketball season tips off.
“What we saw with that FBI investigation is Exhibit A for demanding action,” Emmert said. “A coach, allegedly, who takes a bribe in order to steer a student who has placed his trust in that coach — to steer that young man to a financial adviser who is going to bilk him out of money is disgusting.
“It’s corrupt. It’s just wrong. And it feeds all the cynics.”
It remains to be seen what reform this committee will produce, however, you can surmise that allowing players to profit from their hoops skills and fame won’t be one of them. If anything, this scandal which unearthed six-figure payments to recruits such as Louisville’s Brian Bowen, who was suspended and ultimately transferred, diminishes the possibilities of an NCAA enlightening. Emmert sounds like a man even more committed to purity than ever.
– – – – – – –