Based on sources and apparent leaks coming out from somewhere in our Federal Government, almost half of the NCAA’s Top 16 that were unveiled this past Sunday are under FBI investigation.
The NCAA is apparently having the FBI do their jobs. The NCAA has been instructed to stay out of the way and comply with the FBI while the FBI does what the NCAA could not do in the first place.
The fact that this leak came out is a bit ominous, but it could possibly end up worse. Back when Loretta Lynch was the Attorney General, there was a corruption probe of FIFA that eventually resulted in the removal of key executives and former Chairman Sepp Blatter. College Basketball is about to be dealt a major black eye that will either change almost everything or just how the money flows.
How Pete Thamel and Mark Schlabach were able to get this information is unknown, but based on what they are saying this is going to turn very ugly at some point. Whether it is done in drips and nailing a few individuals at a time or whether it all happens at once is also unknown.
One of the more stranger notes from Thamel’s article is found in this quote.
“As the three ongoing criminal cases resulting from the investigation plod along, it’s increasingly unlikely there will be another wave of double-digit arrests.
More legal charges still could come, but what’s becoming increasingly clear as the discovery portion of the case comes to a close is that the breadth of potential NCAA rules violations uncovered is wide enough to fundamentally and indelibly alter the sport of college basketball.”
The Utter Ridiculousness of the FBI’s Role
It seems that the NCAA is going to be given the authority to issue out the punishments. However, they are not exactly good at doing this and NCAA executives and employees have not been arrested for Obstruction of Justice tied to the Nevin Shapiro case. The NCAA is a corrupt cartel in of itself and through member institutions has negatively shaped state laws.
This all about determining and disproportionately punishing the programs that are committing crimes against “amateurism”. Protecting the enrichment of Athletic Directors (of all ranks within the organizations), Coaches and Contractors with cushy relationships is what the NCAA and now the FBI are doing. The FBI could be cracking down on political corruption in Montgomery, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Springfield, Trenton, Jackson, and Sacramento. They do not go after the fraudulent accreditation bodies that allow students to be defrauded and for institutions like the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to continue to operate. There are children being trafficked in big cities across the country for prostitution and there are just so many resources and people at the FBI, is this so important?
Instead, they choose to protect the fiefdoms that exist in College Athletics to ensure that student-athletes remain indentured servants. The FBI is acting as the NCAA’s Goon Squad and using the power of coercion to get there.
Who’s Going to Be Implicated?
As many as 50 programs are under investigation and almost half of the Top 16 named in the NCAA Tournament Pre-Selection Show are being investigated.
Here are the Top 16 and based on the language, almost half likely means 7. Who are the likely 7? They are in bold. Note: They are just the most likely 7 out of the 16. Disclaimers galore! It’s like Bracketology for FBI investigations.
- Michigan State
- Texas Tech
- North Carolina
- Ohio State
It’s not a tribalistic “this program is a bunch of cheaters” matter and the people associated with the Men’s Basketball Programs are evil. These are programs that based on their activities are most likely to have committed crimes against amateurism.
It does seem that there are two conferences that will likely be impacted more than others: The ACC and SEC. There’s a strong desire to name names, but there are likely as many as 8 in the SEC and 9 in the ACC that could be implicated. The rise of the SEC in Men’s Basketball is likely to be halted and the ugly coded smears would likely begin from those just starting to pay attention to their Football Team’s companion Basketball Team. In the case of Alabama (should they be implicated), it will likely be nowhere as bad as what their base said about Jalen Hurts.
How does this impact Georgia and the decisions made this offseason?
It should not. Excusing away losses due to the improprieties (according to the so-called morality of the NCAA) of others does not explain why Georgia has failed to get over the hump. It also does not explain the ridiculousness of putting a flu-ridden Teshaun Hightower in a confined space with the coaching staff and his fellow teammates (or lying that this would be a standard practice).
There is not much to risk when it comes to making a change. The only people afraid of making a change are afraid that if Men’s Basketball becomes a loose cannon again that possibly other things will be uncovered. The cold, hard reality in the SEC is that every single Football Program has so-called “cheating” (there’s nothing that can be done to stop it in the current environment) and doing anything to disrupt the Golden Goose would result in an angry response. In a divided State of Georgia (Transplants vs. Natives, Atlanta Metro vs. Fall Line and South, Democrats vs. Republicans, Millennials vs. Baby Boomers, Urban vs. Rural, Suburban vs. Chevy Suburban), the only uniting factor is Georgia Football.
Georgia Men’s Basketball is not important enough in the scheme of things to have a risk-averse approach when it comes to making a staffing change. Mark Fox is going to likely collect a $1.1 Million buyout or after April 1, a $600,000 buyout. It’s rougher on the Assistant Coaches and Graduate Assistants. Mark Fox was not the only coach who operated a so-called “clean ship” and the commitment to amateurism is not exactly something to be proud of anymore. (Can it be assumed that UGA Basketball is and was “clean”?) It’s possible to operate with a commitment to amateurism and play a style that does not spite itself either. The perception is that UGA is self-flagellating and that is what the UGAA wants the public to think is going on.
In the Early-to-Mid 1980s, Georgia had the courage to rock the boat and take the NCAA to court over television coverage. Now, Georgia lacks the courage to take on the NCAA and join up with other programs to do what is best for student-athletes. Actually, they do not lack the courage, the UGAA are enjoying fat margins while socking away cash that will end up being the CTE and Brain Damage Settlement Fund (AKA “The Reserve Fund”). The Reserve Fund in its current form exists to prevent the UGA Athletic Association from shuttering programs or as a whole in a post-settlement environment and prevents the non-profit from having to turn to emergency donations.
Without reform or abolition of the NCAA, this is a waste.
It’s not often that student-athletes get to have their voices heard on NCAA amateurism policies. Juwan Parker made it clear that the first thing he would do if he were in the position to affect change in College Athletics is ensure that student-athletes were compensated for their labor. The current form of compensation is at many schools – a big sham. Student-athletes are being fed and treated for the sole purpose of winning games rather than having their futures at heart. Student-athletes are often steered into majors for the purpose of maintaining eligibility, they do not have to attend classes, and a good number of them in the profitable sports are granted special admissions because they do not meet the academic profile of admitted students. The ‘-athletes’ part of their designation is a bit like an asterisk at many schools, even at institutions with reputations like the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. If it could happen at UNC, it can happen anywhere and it is more widespread than anyone wants to acknowledge.
The Federal Government is probably not going to force the NCAA to change their policies and with so many being enriched by the status quo, not much will change other than the smears and possible arrests that take place. It will not dissuade anyone from operating in an “illegal” fashion, it will just result in doing the same acts in a more cloaked fashion. Cryptocurrencies are likely to play a larger role. Football recruits in rural areas will not be getting $500 handshakes from a 50-something, local John Deere dealership operator with a one large gut, two chins and three years away from a passive self-inflicted tragedy that will be considered “unexpected”, instead recruits will have Crypto wallets for anybody from anywhere to insert Cryptocurrency. Money transfers are going to be anonymous and impossible to prevent.
The only way that this FBI investigation results in revelations that would truly be eye-opening is if there are crimes that go beyond compromising amateurism. Are there more Larry Nassars? Are there more Jerry Sanduskys? Are there more rape cover-ups? Are there more violent crimes that get suppressed or obstructed? If it can happen at Michigan State, Penn State, Baylor, Florida State or Tennessee – it can happen anywhere. As long as people look the other way and wish to do whatever it takes to ensure the status quo, monsters will be enabled.
The FBI needs to focus on the real corruption and harm rather than targeting those trying to operate outside of the artificial construct of rules set by a private cartel.
Donors and alumni need to know that their money and patronage are not going to support predators, rapists, violent actors, extortionists and crooked politics. In a divisive environment, the desire for justice in these cases and deterrence of these future activities is something that can unite us all.