If you’re a sweaty, piss-poor liar like Will “Strong Ass Deal” Wade, July is probably not going to be good for you — despite locking down a 5-star recruit and winning the SEC regular season title in 2019.
If you’re Bruce “Cheating is civil disobedience against antisemitism” Pearl, the summer may not be a good one for you either — despite locking down a Top 20 recruiting class, winning the SEC tournament title, and making a Final Four run in 2019.
(Gee, it seems that maybe, just maybe, cheating pays in basketball? Who knew?!)
With the first round of the basketball trials concluded, and the NCAA’s groundwork basically done for them by the Feds and the US taxpayers, the fine folks in Indianapolis are ready to strike.
At least six Division I men’s basketball programs will receive notices of allegations for Level I violations from the NCAA by the summer, stemming from the federal government’s recently completed investigation of the sport, a top NCAA official told CBS Sports.
Stan Wilcox, NCAA vice president for regulatory affairs, said two high-profile programs would receive notices of allegations by early July.
The remaining four would be rolled out later in the summer in what was described as a wave of NCAA investigations meant to clean up major-college basketball.
”There’s even another group of cases that we’re still working on,” Wilcox said. “The main thing is that we’re up and ready. We’re moving forward and you’ll see consequences.”
The NCAA is rolling on two big-time programs by at least July 1 — so, you have to think Sean Miller and Arizona (at a minimum), and perhaps Louisville or Kansas. But, there are others coming in the weeks to follow. And, per Wilcox, they involve programs and persons that were enumerated in the Southern District of New York’s case (among others). So, that adds Christian Dawkins, Kurt Townsend and KU, Will Wade and LSU, Chuck Person and AU, Oklahoma State, USC, and maybe Clemson — if we take the open court testimony about Zion Williamson at face value. However, we do know that about 20 programs were mentioned in the trials.
For the SEC, this is apt to be a huge setback to its reputation and on-the-court: the FBI has Will Wade involved in an active investigation, and Chuck Person has already pleaded guilty (Did I mention that LSU and Auburn won the SEC regular season and tourney titles, respectively? Sheer coincidence, I’m sure.)
There was a point in time in the ‘90s where every single school in the conference had been placed on probation at one point or another. Mike Slive largely cleaned up the lawlessness of the conference. But, in the past few years, we’ve seen almost-reckless cheating by some programs, and violations and sanctions creep back into the margins; the money and competition has upped the stakes across the board.
That’s an issue for Greg Sankey to deal with though. For our part, it would be nice to see the NCAA drop an anvil on the heads of the conference’s most egregious offenders. College basketball is an absolute cesspit, and the sleazy tarantella between shoe companies-AAUs-street agents-and-coaches remains the most brazen cheating in the college game. Let’s see if the NCAA puts some bite into these sanctions, or if it toothlesslessly gnaws at the small schools while letting the too-big-too-fail programs skate by: We didn’t forget UNC, Mark Emmert.
In any case, grab your popcorn: we may have some bonus meltdowns soon!