The world of college basketball has been turned upside-down over the past week after news broke of a wide-ranging FBI investigation into corruption, bribery, and fraud charges at the highest levels of the sport.
Four Division I assistant coaches and Adidas director of global sports marketing Jim Gatto were arrested and accused of accepting bribes in exchange for offering to steer high school basketball prospects to preferred financial advisers, business managers, and agents.
The investigation has since led to the removal of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and legendary UL basketball coach Rick Pitino, and several other high-major programs could soon also face repercussions.
While Nebraska officials have stated multiple times they have not been contacted by the FBI regarding the scandal, it should be noted that the Huskers are one of the prized schools under an athletic apparel contract with Adidas.
NU just signed an 11-year, $128 million extension with Adidas in August. Louisville recently topped that with a 10-year, $160 million deal.
Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles had remained quiet publicly on the issue, politely declining to comment to HuskerOnline.com last week.
During his season-opening press conference on Monday afternoon, though, Miles finally broke his silence.
“First of all, I’ve had very positive associations with Adidas,” Miles said. “They’ve been people that we’ve know well, and we’ve had a long association with them here at Nebraska. It’s just sad.
“I know some of those guys, I know their families - whether it be the assistant coaches (implicated) or the Adidas reps or whatever. So you just feel awful with what the involvement was with that.
“I’m confident that our program is in the right direction and doing the right thing, so you don’t worry about. But you worry about what the ramifications are for college basketball.
“At the same time, it’s maybe a good thing? Maybe this had to come out the way it did, and maybe it’ll be a better college basketball world because of it. It’s just a tough deal to witness, really.”
Miles was asked if he thought the level of cheating in college basketball went well beyond what happened at Louisville, which allegedly funneled $100,000 to the family of five-star recruit Brian Bowen Jr. with money arranged by Gatto and other Adidas reps.
“I don’t know,” Miles said. “Every time you get beat on a recruit, you’re like, ‘Oh, they’re cheating! Of course they’re cheating! My sunny personality and disposition would have never gotten out-recruited! You mean I didn’t call the kid every day and read poetry to him? No, I didn’t? He did? Oh, you can have him.’
“I mean, whatever. I don’t know. You hear stuff, but I don’t know what’s true and what’s not true.”