By now you’ve definitely heard of the scandal that’s rocking the college basketball landscape. If you haven’t, or if you have and your head is spinning (can’t blame you), here’s a great explainer from SB Nation that details what has happened thus far.
Essentially, it’s been understood for years that shoe companies, marketing agencies, financial advisors, and others had been working in the shadows of college basketball recruiting, funneling players to schools where they’d have a better chance of signing said player once his NBA dreams became a reality. This took the form of payments to players from members of these agencies/companies, and in return, coaches at the schools would recommend the players sign with said agencies/companies when given the opportunity post-college.
Now we know that the FBI has been investigating and collecting evidence to these ends for a while, and they’ve started blowing the doors off of everything. Four college basketball coaches (assistants at Oklahoma State, Auburn, USC, and Arizona) have already been arrested on charges of fraud and corruption. Louisville, another university suspected to be involved, has reportedly fired Athletic Director Tom Jurich and head coach Rick Pitino as of Wednesday morning, although Louisville has refuted the report of Jurich’s firing. .
The FBI noted that the NCAA was not notified of the investigation until things broke on Tuesday. The FBI also stated that their investigation isn’t over, that they have a lot of evidence they haven’t made public yet, and that there are a lot more schools that should be worried. The US Attorney involved with the investigation also called on guilty coaches to call them, saying, “It’s better if you call us before we call you.”
This story is far from over, and as it continues to develop, more and more schools will undoubtedly be pulled into the scandal.
So how does this affect TCU?
The biggest way this affects TCU in the days to come, is that Oklahoma State is one of the schools who had an assistant coach, Lamont Evans, arrested and charged. Evans was charged specifically with accepting $22,000 in bribes to steer athletes to specific agents. Evans has been suspended indefinitely by Oklahoma State, but the greater impact on the OSU program is yet to be seen.
Obviously, the Frogs and Cowboys play twice a season, and if this has any major effect on the OSU program, it could take a school out of the equation in the Big 12 race. It could also draw more attention to other Big 12 programs, regarding the ongoing investigation.
Long term, this could be good news for parity in college basketball, which means it could be good for schools like TCU. It’s no secret that the Frogs have long struggled to recruit elite talent to Fort Worth, but with the return of Jamie Dixon, that has started to change. If the shadowy, seedy underbelly of college basketball recruiting is exposed and rectified, that can only be to the benefit of schools like TCU.
Again, this is going to be a long, long road to discovering the extent of the scandal, so we’ll keep our ears to the ground.