The other day, the FBI disclosed that four assistant basketball coaches and six others have been charged in two related NCAA corruption investigations. The allegations are damning: solicitation of bribes and gratuities, wiring dirty money across state lines.
Two federal agents infiltrated schemes that implicated coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and UFC, three men tied to Adidas, a financial advisor, former NBA agent, and a former NCAA referee.
James Gatto, director of global sports marketing at Adidas, apparently orchestrated payments to families of three top high school basketball prospects in exchange for their matriculation to universities sponsored by the fitness apparel company. We are talking big money here, as much as $150,000.
A separate influence operation benefited coaches financially if they successfully pressured NBA-bound athletes to sign with particular franchises. The FBI conducted these operations undercover, and only notified NCAA hours before releasing a publicly available report of their findings.
Secrecy and selfishness simply has no place in professional sports. And we are well beyond that threshold at this point.
We love college sports at SFC because the game is raw. The passion is tangible. Unburdened by elaborate contracts and endorsements, student-athletes play hard. Many of us feel like our teams are our families. So, when the teams, coaches, and players we follow entangle themselves in dishonest behavior or outright illegal activities, the fibers that tether our hearts to sports becomes corrupted too.