Those of you convinced that market-based player compensation will be the death of college athletics as we know it may be on to something.
Just not in the way you think.
“This goes a lot deeper in college basketball than four corrupt assistant coaches,” said a source who has been briefed on the details of the case. “When this all comes out, Hall of Fame coaches should be scared, lottery picks won’t be eligible to play and almost half of the 16 teams the NCAA showed on its initial NCAA tournament show this weekend should worry about their appearance being vacated.”
There’s a general expectation that this information will be released. It could come in trial, pre-trial motions or released by the government at some point. (No one is certain if they’ve agreed to eventually give it to the NCAA if it doesn’t go public.)
So how bad could be it? In terms of NCAA rules, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports that the material obtained threatens the fundamental structure and integrity of the sport, as there’s potentially as many 50 college basketball programs that could end up compromised in some way.
It’s not that anyone’s going to jail, son. My gut feeling is that leaks like these are an indication of desperation on the government’s part that things are falling apart. I mean, let’s not forget that “A Wall Street Journal report about an undercover FBI agent under investigation and a motion filed revealing a paperwork error appeared to poke some holes in the case.” This is kind of amusing, too.
Sources close to the investigation told ESPN that Augustine’s charges were dismissed because evidence showed that he never gave the money he received from the defendants to a high school player they wanted to sign with Miami. Instead, Augustine kept the money for himself.
Even so, that hardly lets the NCAA off the hook. As we well know, what isn’t criminal can still be a major NCAA violation. And if things sweep as broadly as these reports hint they do, what’s going to happen when tourney fields get mowed down, particularly at the upper echelon?
The problem here is that the schools and the NCAA aren’t in control of the investigation. So when the dirt comes out as we know it will, eventually, it won’t come out in a way that allows Mark Emmert and the conference commissioners to direct the narrative. (On the plus side, maybe this is just the ticket that gets Mark Fox and Georgia in the tournament. I keed, I keed… I think.)
I don’t think you can lose eight of the top sixteen teams and pretend that business as usual remains in effect. This may wind up being what forces the NCAA to confront the flaws in an amateurism protocol that’s increasing harder to defend. Or worse, what forces others to force the NCAA to confront those flaws.